Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest players in basketball history. In a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, he won five championships, led the league in scoring twice, scored the second-highest number of points in a single game in NBA history (81), and won two Olympic gold medals.
Kobe was a prolific scorer. He had one eighty-point game, six sixty-point games, 26 fifty-point games, and 134 forty-point games. In his final game, he scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz, becoming the oldest player to hit that figure.
But when Kobe was 12 he almost gave up basketball forever.
He had just burned out of a basketball summer league, playing against some of the best young talents in the country.
And for 25 straight games, Kobe couldn’t score a single point. Not a jumper. Not a layup. Not even a free throw.
Then he read about one of his heroes, Michael Jordan, who didn’t quit after being cut from his high school basketball team. And that lit a fire under Kobe. If Michael never quit, Kobe couldn’t either.
This became known as his ‘Mamba mentality.’ Kobe refused to leave anything on the floor. He wouldn’t just turn up early to practice. He made his own sessions. He’d shoot 400 shots per practice and challenge teammates to play him up to 100 points.
Kobe became obsessed with improving his game.
Six years later he was drafted into the NBA as the 13th overall pick.
In Kobe’s NBA debut for the Lakers, he played six minutes off the bench and scored zero points.
18 years after that Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
How did he do it? “ Piece by piece ” he says.
“It's the consistency of the work. Monday: Get better . Tuesday: Get Better. Wednesday: Get Better. You do that over a period of time. Not just 1 or 2 months. I mean, it's 3, 8, 10 years, and then you get to where you want to go.”
Refine your craft relentlessly. Get better every day. Play for the long haul and leave nothing on the court.