What I’m Learning From Kobe Bryant, Part 2

Araneta Coliseum in Manila.


Part 1

Basketball has been a big part of my life. It provided me a scholarship through college and the opportunity to play with a basketball team that played sixty-six games in the countries of Japan, Philippines, Korea, and Taiwan. Ten of those games were against the Olympic teams of those countries. We played basketball to draw huge crowds (three games sold out at 25,000 in the Araneta Coliseum in Manila), then present a Christian witness at halftime.

Basketball players have taught me a lot of lessons about life. Last week, I shared one lesson from Kobe Bryant’s life – the uncertainty of life. Here are three more lessons that I’ve learned from him!

Lesson #2: Kobe Bryant would always bring out the best in people.

Paul Pierce, a great player from the Boston Celtics, recently said that the Celtics hated the Lakers. He really hated Bryant the first few times they played because they were such rivals, but he then noticed that he played better. Pierce gave credit to Kobe Bryant for bringing out a higher level of basketball in his own game. He thanked Bryant for making him a better basketball player and a better man.

Oftentimes, we have rivals in life. The best lesson to learn is how that rivalry can make you become a better person. It’s easy in life to tear people down – it’s far more productive to help build people up. The Bible teaches us to “encourage each other and build each other up, etc.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Paul Pierce said that Kobe Bryant redefined their relationship. They even became friends. They actually entered some business deals together in the last few years. Does your life bring out the best or the worst in others?

Lesson #3: Kobe Bryant was a smart, disciplined, tenacious, hard worker.

Bryant was asked recently how he wanted to be remembered. He said he wanted to be remembered as a person who had a lot of talent, but working long, hard, and smart was his greatest asset. Imagine that! He didn’t rest on the laurels of his ability – he was always improving because he was one of the hardest working players in the NBA.

Talent varies with people, but the ability to be persistent, smart, and never quit is something that every person can adopt. Bryant carefully scheduled his workouts. He didn’t waste time in basketball or in life. He worked hard, but he worked smart. That’s why he was so successful in basketball and in business. How hard and how smart did you work yesterday?

Lesson #4: Kobe Bryant retired from basketball but did not retire from life.

Bryant entered his second phase of life and became quite successful in a variety of enterprises. He was as committed to what he was doing post-retirement as he was pre-retirement.

A great lesson for all of us! Retirement is a time of transition from one phase of life to another. If you are in retirement or you are approaching retirement, God still has a great plan for you. Accept that plan and follow it!

Here are the four lessons I’ve learned from Kobe Bryant through basketball. I remind us that the real winners in life are the persons who spend every day fulfilling the purpose God put us here for and knowing for sure that we will spend all eternity with the One who created us and gave us our purpose for living.

Time to live these lessons!

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