It’s surreal that it has already been a year since the world was shook at the loss of the legend, Kobe Bryant! It seemed to be the most impactful celebrity death that I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. I’m not sure if it was the manner in which it happened, the fact that his daughter and seven other souls perished, or because it was Kobe. It was also the catalyst that set up a pretty shitty year! But as I took a step back from looking at Kobe’s death as a tragedy, I realize how much game he still gave us even after death.
When you have a player as great as Kobe Bryant, that’s sometimes all we see. The player. We praised his basketball prowess. It has been dubbed “Mamba Mentality.” Kobe used this term to describe the level of intense focus and relentless approach he took both in preparation and competition. This helped him become the second greatest basketball player to step foot on a NBA court (in my humble opinion!). But I don’t think people realized how Kobe used this same mentality with his endeavors after retirement and with his most important job: Being a father!
Since his death, I have been made aware just how great of a father he was. Whether it was interviews I missed or hearing the stories told by his family and friends at his memorial service. It made me realize that even though he had that much drive and focus to be such a great player and businessman, he used that same mindset to be a great father. And as I’m sure most fathers of the millennial generation idolized and emulated this man as a player, we should idolize and emulate him as a father!
For the anniversary of his tragic death, I wanted to use some of his words to breathe life into others. I have compiled some of Kobe’s quotes on fatherhood and explained how we can apply it to ourselves in our journey of fatherhood!
“I want to make sure the days that I’m away from them are days that I absolutely have to be, I’d rather be with them than doing anything else.”
We’re living in a time where multiple streams of income is needed to survive, so most of us are always in grind mode. But when committing ourselves to anything, we have to ask if it’s absolutely necessary before taking that time away from our children! Being with our kids as much as possible is really a two way street. We learn from them almost as much as they learn from us. They teach us tolerance and patience. They help us remember the power of imagination. We teach them how to be responsible and independent. And also what it means to show love! So it’s important to be with your kids as much as possible!
“I had to figure out a way where I could still train and focus on the craft, but still not compromise family time. That’s when I looked into helicopters to be able to get down and back in 15 minutes.”
I know most of us can’t afford helicopters. Shoot, I get mad at having to pay tolls to take the faster interstate to get home. But the point is finding ways to be more efficient at finding ways to maximize time with your family. For instance, I work a lot of overtime, but I never want to miss out on spending time with my kids on the weekends. So I wake up every morning around 3:30 and work while everyone is still sleeping. That way once they wake up, they get my attention. I will have to catch some naps during the day, but I figured 15 minute cat naps are way better than being locked in an office for 5 hours on a Saturday afternoon. Even small things can go a long way, like taking a shorter lunch to leave work 15 minutes earlier to beat rush hour.
“We try to teach the kids what excellence looks like. We try to give them a foundation of the amount of work that it takes to be excellent.”
You have to lead by example! We work so hard to give our kids a better life than we had, both financially and relationally. It’s OK to let your kids know what it takes to get where you want to be. The goal of each generation is to take it further than the last. I’ve always thought the best way for children to realize the value of hard work is to incorporate them in what you’re doing as much as possible. Let them see that progress can be a slow process, but consistency is key! You set the foundation and watch them build!
Being an active father while trying to build an empire for your kids can be exhausting. It will push you to the edge. It may get you to a point of breaking down. But when you’re ready to give up, remember your WHY. It’s to be the best. To be the best father to your children. That’s what Kobe did. He worked to be the best! The best player. And the best father. Remember raising Kings and Queens takes a level of intense focus and relentless approach. That’s the Mamba Mentality for fatherhood. Thank you, Kobe! May you continue to Rest In Peace.