136 Inspiring Koby Bryant Quotes To Channel That Mamba Mentality
You know it's about to be a sad one when you have to write about someone in the past tense. Another unbelievable talent gone too soon. Kobe Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash in 2020, aged 41, with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. He was more than just a phenomenal basketball player and the Los Angeles Lakers superstar. Bryant was the "Girl Dad," a husband, writer, producer, philanthropist, and a truly inspirational figure for many.
Although The Black Mamba left us far too soon, he profoundly impacted basketball, culture, and the entire world. Two years before his death, Kobe wrote his first book, a basketball memoir, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play. In the book, he shared his personal perspective on life and career and his insightful playing style. However, not only his Mamba mentality was put into words and typed out. Derived from plenty of interviews, public messages, and presumably from his book, many Kobe Bryant quotes, both motivational and uplifting, serve as an inspiration for many people worldwide.
Kobe Bryant's inspirational quotes show the tenacity, ambition, and drive that made him an icon and a hero for many. Among the many motivational quotes, Kobe will forever be remembered for all he contributed to the basketball community, the city of LA, his family, and the entire world, really. Although Kobe Bryant's passing is still felt by people of all backgrounds, his unparalleled influence will never be forgotten.
Below, we've gathered some of the most inspiring quotes and quotes about working hard that demonstrate what an actual legend Kobe was. Forever in our hearts, rest in peace, Black Mamba.
Is there a Kobe Bryant quote that inspired you to reach for the heights and move mountains? Let us know!
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"If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re probably going to fail."
"I create my own path. It was straight and narrow. I looked at it this way: you were either in my way or out of it."
"Leadership is lonely. I'm not going to be afraid of confrontation to get us to where we need to go."
"If you do not believe in yourself no one will do it for you."
"I see the beauty in getting up in the morning and being in pain because I know all the hard work that it took to get to this point. So, I'm not, I'm not sad about [retiring]. I'm very appreciative of what I've had."
"People say bad things about you in the paper on Monday, and then on Wednesday, you're the greatest thing since sliced bread. I've seen that cycle, so why would I be nervous about it happening?"
"A lot of leaders fail because they don’t have the bravery to touch that nerve or strike that chord."
"I never needed any external forces to motivate me."
"You guys know how I am. I don’t forget anything."
"I don't want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant."
"I don’t f**k with bees, man. Other than that, I’m not afraid of nothing."
"I’m reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward. I reflect with a purpose."
"It’s the one thing you can control. You are responsible for how people remember you—or don’t. So don’t take it lightly."
"You can't stop people from trying to limit your dreams, but you can stop it from becoming a reality. Your dreams are up to you. I encourage you to always be curious, always seek out things you love and always work hard once you find it."
"People just don't understand how obsessed I am with winning."
“If you want to be a better player, you have to prepare, prepare, and prepare some more.”
“I made every second of the national anthem count.”
“No matter what, people are going to like you or not like you. So be authentic and let them like you or not for who you actually are.”
"Once you know what failure feels like, determination chases success."
"After all, greatness is not for everybody."
"May you always remember to enjoy the road, especially when it’s a hard one."
"Trust me, setting things up right from the beginning will avoid a ton of tears and heartache."
"From the beginning, I wanted to be the best. I had a constant craving, a yearning, to improve and be the best."
"Pain doesn’t tell you when you ought to stop. Pain is the little voice in your head that tries to hold you back because it knows if you continue you will change."
"The important thing is that your teammates have to know you're pulling for them and you really want them to be successful."
"We can always kind of be average and do what’s normal. I’m not in this to do what’s normal."
"Haters are a good problem to have. Nobody hates the good ones. They hate the great ones."
"Friends can come and go, but banners hang forever."
"There’s certain players that I’ve made cry. If I can make you cry by being sarcastic, then I really don’t want to play with you in the playoffs."
"If you do it right, your game will live on in others… So leave everything on the court. Leave the game better than you found it. And when it comes time for you to leave, leave a legend.”
"Those times when you stay up late and you work hard; those times when don’t feel like working — you’re too tired, you don’t want to push yourself — but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream. That’s the dream. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. And if you guys can understand that, what you’ll see happen is that you won’t accomplish your dreams, your dreams won’t come true, something greater will."
"As I sit here now when I take off my shoe and I look down at my scar, I see beauty in it. I see all the hard work, all the sacrifices. I see the journey that it took to get back to this point of being healthy. And I see beauty in that struggle. That's what makes it beautiful."
"Despite the fear, finish the job."
"I was never worried about my reputation—that's how I earned one. That's how I became the Black Mamba."
“I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my game, but I also wasn’t willing to sacrifice my family time. So I decided to sacrifice sleep, and that was that.”
“Good coaches tell you where the fish are, great coaches teach you how to find them.”
“If you really want to be great at something you have to truly care about it. If you want to be great in a particular area, you have to obsess over it.”
“The only aspect that can’t change, though, is that obsession.”
“The key, though, is being aware of how you’re feeling and how you need to be feeling. It all starts with awareness.”
“The message was that if you want to win championships, you have to let people focus on what they do best while you focus on what you do best. For him, that was rebounding, running the floor, and blocking shots.”
“Every team needs either a confrontational star player or coach. In San Antonio, Gregg Popovich was that guy and Tim Duncan was not. In Golden State, Draymond Green is the confrontational one; Steve Kerr is not. For us, Phil was not that type of person, so I provided that force. You always have to have that balance and counterbalance, and Phil and I were perfectly suited for each other in that way.”
“You have to enter every activity, every single time, with a want and need to do it to the best of your ability.”
“My approach always was that I’d rather risk embarrassment now than be embarrassed later when I’ve won zero titles.”
“For the most part, before games I just liked being there, hearing the sounds of the environment and observing everything.”
"The most important thing is you must put everybody on notice that you’re here and you are for real."
"I can't relate to lazy people. We don't speak the same language. I don't understand you. I don't want to understand you."
"We psych ourselves up too much. Like if you try to talk yourself into, ‘Oh, this is a big moment, this is a big shot,’ you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself. You shot that shot hundreds and thousands of times. Just shoot another one."
"There's nothing truly to be afraid of, when you think about it, because I've failed before, and I woke up the next morning, and I'm OK."
"These young guys are playing checkers. I'm out there playing chess."
"When I have the chance to guard Michael Jordan, I want to guard him. I want him. It’s the ultimate challenge."
“A lot of people say they want to be great, but they’re not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve greatness. They have other concerns, whether important or not, and they spread themselves out. That’s totally fine. After all, greatness is not for everybody.”
"It’s hard for me to grasp the concept of somebody being nervous when I’m talking to them."
"My parents are my backbone. Still are. They're the only group that will support you if you score zero or you score 40."
"I saw you come in and I wanted you to know that it doesn’t matter how hard you work, that I’m willing to work harder than you."
"I’m extremely willful to win, and I respond to challenges. It’s not a challenge to me to win the scoring title, because I know I can."
"Everything negative—pressure, challenges—is all an opportunity for me to rise."
"I realized that intimidation didn't really exist if you're in the right frame of mind."
"There’s no need to get too crazy or bent out of shape. There are still challenges every day. But I’m still having fun. I was born to play this game. I still love it."
"This is the moment I accept the most challenging times will always be behind me and in front of me."
"Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses."
"When we are saying this cannot be accomplished, this cannot be done, then we are short-changing ourselves. "
"The moment you give up is the moment you let someone else win."
"If I wanted to play, I’d still be playing for the Lakers."
"The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do."
"When you make a choice and say, 'Come hell or high water, I am going to be this,' then you should not be surprised when you are that. It should not be something that is intoxicating or out of character because you have seen this moment for so long that when that moment comes, of course, it is here because it has been here the whole time because it has been [in your mind] the whole time."
"Be sad. Be mad. Be frustrated. Scream. Cry. Sulk. When you wake up you will think it was just a nightmare only to realize it’s all too real. You will be angry and wish for the day back, the game back, that playback. But reality gives nothing back and nor should you."
"I’ve shot too much from the time I was eight years old. But ‘too much' is a matter of perspective. Some people thought Mozart had too many notes in his compositions. Let me put it this way: I entertain people who say I shoot too much. I find it very interesting. Going back to Mozart, he responded to critics by saying there were neither too many notes or too few. There were as many as necessary."
"I love that kids are building confidence on and off the court and unlocking their potential through sport."
"I'll do whatever it takes to win games, whether it's sitting on a bench waving a towel, handing a cup of water to a teammate, or hitting the game-winning shot."
"I got one more than Shaq. So you can take that to the bank."
"I never looked at [basketball] as work. I didn't realize it was work until my first year in the NBA. When I came around, I was surrounded by other professionals and I thought basketball was going to be everything to them, and it wasn't. And I was like, 'This is different.' I thought everybody was so obsessive about the game like me. It was like, 'No? Oh, that's hard work.' I get it now."
"There’s been a lot of talk of me being a one-man show but that’s simply not the case. We win games when I score 40 points and we’ve won when I score 10."
"The beauty in being blessed with talent is rising above doubters to create a beautiful moment."
"Winning takes precedence over all. There’s no gray area. No almosts."
"Take it all in. Sit back and watch and listen and hear all the hate that’s being thrown at us and remember every person that’s kicking you when you’re down because next year it ain’t gonna be this way. Appreciate it now. Let it sit in now because revenge is sweet and it’s quick."
"If you want to be great at something, there’s a choice you have to make. What I mean by that is, that there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that."
“I’ve played with IVs before, during, and after games. I’ve played with a broken hand, a sprained ankle, a torn shoulder, a fractured tooth, a severed lip, and a knee the size of a softball. I don’t miss 15 games because of a toe injury that everybody knows wasn’t that serious in the first place.”
“I would go 0-for-30 [from the floor] before I would go 0-for-9. [An] 0-for-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game. The only reason is that you’ve just now lost confidence in yourself.”
"Torches never get passed. You've got to earn that."
"Not even in my dreams. That was something that just happened. It's tough to explain. It's just one of those things." — when I scored 81 points in a game."
"I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. No matter what the injury -- unless it's completely debilitating -- I'm going to be the same player I've always been. I'll figure it out. I'll make some tweaks, some changes, but I'm still coming."
"I have nothing in common with lazy people who blame others for their lack of success. Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses."
"If you were standing between me and the game, I was going to knock you on your back and not feel bad about it. I was unapologetically me. That's all I ever wanted to be."
"Put them through school, set them up with job interviews, and help them become leaders in their own right. Hold them to the same level of hard work and dedication that it took for you to get to where you are now, and where you will eventually go."
"I remain focused on changing the world in positive ways through diverse stories, characters, and leadership in order to inspire the next generation."
“What separates great players from all-time great players is their ability to self-assess, diagnose weaknesses, and turn those flaws into strengths.”
“As a kid, I would work tirelessly on adding elements to my game. I would see something I liked in person or on film, go practice it immediately, practice it more the next day, and then go out and use it. By the time I reached the league, I had a short learning curve. I could see something, download it, and have it down pat.”
“I found that, yes, this work might be strenuous on the day-to-day, but it left me stronger and more prepared during the dog days of the season and the playoffs.”
"My routine was grueling. It involved early mornings and late nights. It involved stretching, lifting, training, hooping, recovery, and film study. It involved putting in a lot of work and hours. It’s—no lie—tiring. For that reason, a lot of players pare down their lifting and training during the season. They try conserving their energy. Not me, though."
“If something has worked for other greats before you, and if something is working for you, why change it up and embrace some new fad? Stick with what works, even if it’s unpopular.”
“You can’t achieve greatness by walking a straight line.”
“I liked challenging people and making them uncomfortable. That’s what leads to introspection, and that’s what leads to improvement. You could say I dared people to be their best selves.”
“Most players listen to music every game. They have their headphones on religiously and use music to get them in the right state of mind. They’d even sing and dance. I rarely ever did that.”
“That’s not to say my emotions didn’t spike or drop here or there, but I was aware enough to recalibrate and bring them back level before things spiraled. I could do that in a way others couldn’t, and that was really key for me.”
“Learn to love the hate. Embrace it. Enjoy it. You earned it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and everyone should have one about you.”
“Initially, I thought the phrase ‘Mamba Mentality’ was just a catchy hashtag that I’d start on Twitter.”
"Dedication makes dreams come true."
"There's a big misconception where people think winning or success comes from everybody putting their arms around each other and singing kumbaya and patting them on the back when they mess up, and that's just not reality. If you are going to be a leader, you are not going to please everybody. You have to hold people accountable. Even if you have that moment of being uncomfortable."
"The beauty of coaching is growing the players from the ground up. That journey continues."
"Use your success, wealth, and influence to put them in the best position to realize their own dreams and find their true purpose."
"I want to learn how to become the best basketball player in the world. And if I'm going to learn that, I gotta learn from the best. Kids go to school to be doctors or lawyers, so forth and so on and that's where they study. My place to study is from the best."
"I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I'm like, 'My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don't have it. I just want to chill.' We all have self-doubt. You don't deny it, but you also don't capitulate to it. You embrace it."
"I want to see if I can. I don't know if I can. I want to find out. I want to see it. I'm going to do what I always do: I'm going to break it down to its smallest form, and smallest detail, and go after it. Day by day, one day at a time."
"Losing is losing. There aren’t different degrees of losing. You either win a championship or you’re s**t. It’s very black and white to me."
"Have a good time. Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, smile, and just keep on rolling."
"I had to organize things. So I created the ‘Black Mamba.’ So Kobe has to deal with these issues, all the personal challenges. The Black Mamba steps on the court and does what he does. I’m destroying everybody that steps on the court."
"The message was that if you want to win championships, you have to let people focus on what they do best while you focus on what you do best. For me, that was rebounding, running the floor, and blocking shots."
"The last time I was intimidated was when I was six years old in karate class. I was an orange belt and the instructor ordered me to fight a black belt who was a couple of years older and a lot bigger. I was scared s**tless. I mean, I was terrified and he kicked my a**. But then I realized he didn't kick my a** as bad as I thought he was going to and that there was nothing really to be afraid of."
"We all can be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice. What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that. Family time, hanging out with friends, being a great friend, being a great son, nephew, whatever the case may be. There are sacrifices that come along with making that decision."
"Boos don’t block dunks."
"I don’t want chumps, I don’t want pushovers, and if you’re a chump and a pushover, I will run over you."
"My brain... it cannot process failure. It will not process failure. Because if I sit there and have to face myself and tell myself, ‘You’re a failure’... I think that’s almost worse than death."
"The story continues. If you fail on Monday, the only way it’s a failure is if you decide to not progress from that. To me, that’s why failure does not exist. If I fail today, I’m going to learn something from that failure. I’m going to try again."
"I want to make sure that they’re growing up in a world better than the one we are currently living in."
"It’s an understanding that you can’t have life without death, can’t have light without the dark, right? So it’s an acceptance of that."
“The mindset isn’t about seeking a result—it’s more about the process of getting to that result. It’s about the journey and the approach. It’s a way of life. I do think that it’s important, in all endeavors, to have that mentality.”
“You can manipulate an opponent’s strength and use it against them.”
“What I mean by that is: if I wanted to implement something new into my game, I’d see it and try incorporating it immediately. I wasn’t scared of missing, looking bad, or being embarrassed. That’s because I always kept the end result, the long game, in my mind. I always focused on the fact that I had to try something to get it, and once I got it, I’d have another tool in my arsenal. If the price was a lot of work and a few missed shots, I was OK with that.”
“Some people, after all, enjoy looking at a watch; others are happier figuring out how the watch works.”
“When everyone else was thinking it was time for bed, his mind was telling him it’s time to get ahead of the competition.”
“The only way I was able to pick up details on the court, to be aware of the minutiae on the hardwood, was by training my mind to do that off the court and focusing on every detail in my daily life. By reading, by paying attention in class, in practice, and working, I strengthened my focus. By doing all of that, I strengthened my ability to be present and not have a wandering mind.”
“Good coaches, however, teach you how to think and arm you with the fundamental tools necessary to execute properly.”
“To do that, despite the injury, I had to maintain control and dictate where I was going to go with the ball and how I was going to play. I had to, even on one ankle, keep the advantage in my court and never let the defense force me to do something I didn’t want to do. That was the key here, and that’s the key always.”
“I never felt outside pressure. I knew what I wanted to accomplish, and I knew how much work it took to achieve those goals. I then put in the work and trusted in it. Besides, the expectations I placed on myself were higher than what anyone expected from me.”
“Simply put, good coaches make sure you know how to use both hands, how to make proper reads, how to understand the game. Good coaches tell you where the fish are, great coaches teach you how to find them. That’s the same at every level.”
“People don’t always understand just how much effort, from how many people, goes into one person chasing a dream to be great.”
“A lot of people appreciated my curiosity and passion. They appreciated that I wasn’t just asking to ask, I was genuinely thirsty to hear their answers and glean new info. Some people, meanwhile, were less understanding and gracious. That was fine with me.”
“For some people, I guess, it might be hard to stay sharp once you’ve reached the pinnacle. Not for me, though. It was never enough. I always wanted to be better, wanted more. I can’t really explain it, other than that I loved the game but had a very short memory. That fueled me until the day I hung up my sneakers.”
“Coaches are teachers. Some coaches—lesser coaches—try telling you things. Good coaches, however, teach you how to think and arm you with the fundamental tools necessary to execute properly.”
“I was curious. I wanted to improve, learn, and fill my head with the history of the game. No matter who I was with—a coach, Hall of Famer, teammate—and no matter the situation; game, practice, vacation; I would fire away with question after question.”
“I built my game to have no holes. It doesn’t matter how well you knew my game. It doesn’t matter if we played against each other for years, or were even teammates for a stretch. None of that helped you guard me.”
“Yes, you might have known I preferred to go one way. That didn’t ultimately matter, because I could just as easily go the other way. Yeah, you might have also thought you knew my cadence and rhythm, except—I didn’t have one.”
“The game is full of ebbs and flows—the good, the bad, and everything in between. With all that was going on around me, I had to figure out how to steel my mind and keep calm and centered.”
“Something witty and memorable. But it took off from there and came to symbolize much more.”
“I made a point to adjust the pace of my attack to throw defenders off. In essence, the more you thought you knew about my game, the harder it would actually be to guard me.”
“The agony of defeat is as low as the joy of winning is high. However, they’re the exact same to me.”