The Mamba Mentality: How I Play by Kobe Bryant
21 February 2020

“He asked me what I was going to do and I told him I was going to go to the club. And he told me he was going to the gym.” – Allen Iverson

An insider’s perspective into the winning mindset of NBA legend, award-winning director and author Kobe Bryant.

The book has two distinction parts:

  1. (1) Summary of the individual elements that comprise the “Mamba Mentality” mindset
  2. (2) Breakdown of historic player match-ups with the likes of Michael Jordan and LeBron James

The Mamba Mentality can be broken down into:

  • * A commitment to winning above all else
  • * Emotional regulation through meditative practices
  • * Deep competitive research on both competitors and regulations
  • * Leading by example by setting the pace yourself
  • * Ability to self-assess and improve upon weakness
  • * Seeking mentorship and asking genuine questions
  • * Direct communication of winning expectations, even if confrontational
  • * Deliberate usage of time to always improve the craft

What sticks out to me is the many parallels between the Mamba Mentality and stoic philosophy.

Of course largely absent from stoic philosophy is Kobe’s focus on competition and egoism…but the use of meditation, self-reflection, a drive to not let externalities sway internal goals, an appreciation for the painful times, seeking knowledge from those who came before and a sobering assessment of environment, self and others all fit into a stoic operating system.

The tactical techniques that Kobe used to become one of the greatest basketball players are available to all of us: Practice, Research, Curiosity.

Kobe did not have a size advantage at his position, he did not enter the NBA with a 3 point shot and was considered too “weak” to guard other players. By that assessment, Kobe should not be one of the greatest basketball players of all time…but he is, and it was solely his mentality that elevated himself beyond what scouting reports said.