During a half-time ceremony Monday night at the Staples Center, Kobe Bryant became the first NBA player to have two jerseys retired by the same team.
Playing the first half of his career as No. 8, he won three titles and scored 16,777 points. The second half of his career, he sported No. 24 and won two titles, scoring16,866 points.
Considered one of the best NBA players of all time, Kobe spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers. He became known for his competitiveness and insane work ethic.
Here are 7 ways kids can learn from Kobe’s relentless drive and determination.
- When he was 12 years old, Kobe played in a summer basketball camp. He finished the camp never scoring a single point. He was devastated and embarrassed. Instead of quitting, however, he used those emotions to fuel his determination to work harder.
- As a kid, Kobe dreamed of playing for the Los Angeles Lakers someday. He also dreamed of having his number retired alongside the other Lakers Legends. With that as his goal, he worked toward it, never looking back until he succeeded.
- Kobe worked harder and longer than anyone around him. In high school he’d get to the gym at 5 a.m. and stay after the afternoon practice until 7 p.m. As an NBA player, he once practiced and trained for 7 hours before the team practice.
- Kobe tore his Achilles tendon during a game in 2013, but he didn’t let that stop him. He attacked his recovery and rehab the same way he attacked the hoop – with a crazy amount of discipline and vigor. He recovered faster than ever and was back on the court sooner than expected.
- Kobe made sacrifices to stay healthy. He put himself on a strict diet in his quest to be the best. He cut out all sugar from his diet as well as pizza and only ate lean cuts of meat.
- Even when Kobe had reached a legendary level of play, he was still the first one to the gym in the morning. His insane drive didn’t let up even after achieving great success.
- Kobe feels fortunate to have had mentors like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson growing up. Now he’s working to give back to the next group of NBA stars by doling out his advice and wisdom. He says, “I feel like it’s part of my responsibility to give back to the next generation and help them achieve great things and, in turn, they can pass it on to the generation that follows them.”
Kobe’s persistence and practice is something kids can admire and model. It can teach them to dream big and pursue their passion religiously. And if something stands in their way of reaching their goal, tell them to think like Kobe when he says, “Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.”