The black mamba. One of the deadliest snakes in the word and also the nickname of one of the best NBA players ever, Kobe Bryant. He took on the nickname from “Kill Bill” when an assassin used a black mamba to kill another character. And what came out of this nickname is the “mamba mentality.”
The mamba mentality is “being the best version of yourself. It’s about focusing on the process and trusting in the hard work when it matters most. Hard work outweighs talent every time.” This is how Bryant described the mamba mentality. “It’s the ultimate mantra for the competitive spirit. It’s grown into something that athletes and even non-athletes embrace as a mindset.”
Bryant was such a phenomenal player because he worked so hard and was never satisfied. He was amazing but for him he could still be better. The mamba mentality.
I am nowhere close to Kobe Bryant’s greatness but I do possess a strong work ethic that’s been with me for as long as I can remember. I am rarely satisfied. This helped me in sports, it helped me in school, it helped me with my job and it helped me with my cancer battle. The mamba mentality.
I was a decent student but I had to work really hard in order to do well. I studied a lot, reviewing and rewriting notes, going to extra help when I needed and seeking ways to stay ahead. The mamba mentality.
I was also a decent athlete but I had to work really hard to have as much success as I did. I spent so many hours practicing outside of team time to get better and I was rarely satisfied with looking back were probably pretty good performances. I still remember a track race in college that two of my friends came to. I won the 5k and was all upset afterwards and they asked “why are so upset you won the race?” I was upset with my time. I didn’t run what I wanted to. Looking back I realized I should have taken some enjoyment in winning a college race but it’s that mamba mentality. I’m just very driven.
With my job I also worked very hard. I started as an administrative assistant in athletics and continued to do more and more. I started to do some sports information type work because we had no one to do this and I didn’t think this was fair to our student athletes. Little did I know this hard work helped save me a job in athletics following my long medical leave.
With cancer the work you put in is many doctor appointments and treatments but you do what you need to to survive. But I didn’t want to just survive, I wanted to thrive too. Though I pushed myself too hard a few times, I also tried to keep things as normal as possible especially for my kids. The determination to succeed that I’ve had for many years helped me once again. The mamba mentality.
I write this on the three year “anniversary” of Bryant’s shocking death in a helicopter crash. I feel fortunate I was able to see one of the greatest to ever play the game during his entire NBA career. It was said he wouldn’t go out and party because he was too focused on getting better and would spend that time shooting and working on his game. He was never satisfied and never stopped working to be the best. The mamba mentality.
I think some people are wired to work harder and be more driven and just have this “mamba mentality.” I am thankful I have some of this mentality and always give all I have into whatever it is I am working on or doing. That could be school, sports, my job, motherhood or kicking cancer’s ass. I always give it my all.
The “mamba mentality” is a great legacy that Kobe left. It’s something we could all learn from. We should all strive to be the best we can be in whatever we do: school, our jobs, parenthood, life. Thank you Kobe for this mentality and example you left us all.
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