Kobe’s terrible disillusionment at age 10: « I was upset »


Well before becoming an NBA legend, Kobe Bryant had to overcome a number of difficulties, starting with a heavy disillusionment at the age of 10. A pivotal moment in the life and (future) career of the Black Mamba, as he told himself a few years later.


We are at the end of the decade 1980. The young Kobe Bryant, who is only ten years old, is still unknown to the public. No one could recognize him, no one had ever heard of him, but it was at this time that a huge change in his life took place. How do we know it? Thanks to a powerful speech of the Mamba, about 30 years later, transcribed in full on the channel Motivation Madness.

There was a summer I played basketball when I was 10 or 11 years old. It was a big summer league in Philadelphia called the Sunny Hill League. My dad played, my uncle played. They had the best of the best, in a way, Wilt Chamberlain played in that league, Earl Monroe played in that league.

Kobe also played in the tournament, against kids his own age, no more and no less. And it is in this same competition that one of the greatest disillusionments of his childhood occurs: he is bad, pitifully bad in the various games.

I didn’t score a single point in the whole tournament. Not a single one.

I had playing time, but I was bad. I had huge knee pads because I was growing so fast, I was terribly skinny.

And I didn’t score a single point in the tournament, not a single shot, nothing. Not even a lucky shot or a layup on the counter-attack… 0 points. I remember crying because of that, I was upset

The young Mamba, still very far from being the « Mamba » at that time, is down after the tournament. Completely haggard, a person picks up the child at the edge of the court and finds the right words to comfort him: his father, Joe Bryant.

My dad hugged me and said, ‘Look, it doesn’t matter if you score 0 or 60 points, I’ll love you either way. That gave me all the confidence I needed, even in failure. I had security.

These words of praise would re-motivate Young Kobe, who at just 10-11 years old was already showing glimpses of his future and legendary Mamba Mentality. His immediate reaction, in front of his father, is a testament to this.

I said to myself, ‘Okay… but I’m still going to score 60 points. And from then on I trained with him every day.

By the way, when I got to high school a few years later, he was transformed. A beautiful confidence, sometimes bordering on arrogance, had taken over. Proof with this great sequence just before an exam.

That summer, in Philadelphia, it was more than a powerful father-son relationship that was taking shape. The seed of the Mamba Mentality had just been planted in the fresh mind of young Kobe Bryant. The rest, we all know.


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