Personal Legend - Kobe Bryant

August 30, 2020 |
Image taken by MJ close to Staples Center in DTLA

Read the Allen Iverson letter to Kobe titled “Dear Kobe” today. A theme that comes up a lot in the open letter is Kobe’s work ethic. To reach his highest potential, Kobe had to live differently from his peers. We saw that Kobe’s drive to be better, made others around him better. Whether it was current players like Lebron James seeing how much work Kobe did and wanting to emulate that ethic, or a kid like me seeing someone give something they love their absolute all. I’m currently reading “The Alchemist,” a book that postulates that we all have a “Personal Legend,” something we’ve always wanted to accomplish. Before reading, I was skeptical the book was one that espoused richness and greatness for all if they think positively. I couldn’t be more wrong. While teaching its readers lessons in perseverance, the book also shows that everyone’s journey is different. Hence, the term “Personal Legend.” Kobe worked hard day in and day out to achieve his. Not giving up on his journey to be the best Kobe. And I stress the best Kobe because that is the only thing he could have controlled, being the best version of himself. On the basketball court, a majority will side with Iverson that Kobe is No. 2 on the Mount Rushmore of basketball players. People still call Kobe the G.O.A.T. because of that drive he had. I’ll never forget Kobe standing at the free-throw line with a snapped Achilles tendon and draining both of his free throws. “His way isn’t the same as mine, nor mine as his. But we’re both in search of our Personal Legends, and I respect him for that.” — excerpt from The Alchemist. There is a section in the book that reads, “The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better.” In “Dear Kobe” Iverson writes, “You were trying to be the best that ever did it. Everybody says they want to be that. But not everybody is willing to sacrifice what it really takes to do it.” Sacrifice is another theme read throughout “The Alchemist.” Sacrificing what is comfortable to pursue becoming a greater version of yourself. That sacrifice could be cutting down on entertainment to get more sleep, or not going out with your friends to put in work on your Personal Legend. When Iverson, one of the greatest scoring guards in the history of the NBA wanted to go clubbing while in Los Angeles, Kobe instead decided to go to the gym. When describing this event, Iverson shares, “You’re probably the only dude in the history of the game where the mystique wasn’t exaggerated. The Mamba was no myth, man. It didn’t even do you justice. One, two, three in the morning, we knew where you were.” In “Meditations” Marcus Aurelius writes “Do external things distract you? Then make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions. But make sure you guard against the other kind of confusion. People who labor all their lives but have no purpose to direct every thought and impulse toward are wasting their time—even when hard at work.” I wanted to include this excerpt because I’ve noticed the ease in which I can be pulled in all directions, taking me away from my Personal Legend. If you are dealing with something similar, my suggestion is to list the things that currently have your attention and the things you would like to accomplish. Once you have that list, rank them. Put your Personal Legend at the top of the list and start moving towards its accomplishment. Something that I’ve struggled with is my ability to say “no.” It takes willpower to sacrifice the potential fun (going to the club) with putting in work (going to the gym). Although going out is fun, there have been days after going out where I’ve experienced a feeling of emptiness. Have you ever experienced something similar when your priorities are out of sorts? “The Alchemist” describes this as “seeking the treasure of their Personal Legend, without wanting actually to live out the Personal Legend.” Kobe’s personal legend was to be the greatest player Kobe could be. That was evident throughout his twenty-year career. And in the process of doing so, he went on to inspire people to pursue their Personal Legends. Kendrick Lamar narrates a Nike commercial that says “Kobe taught us to be better.” I’ll close with one more quote from “The Alchemist,” “when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.” What does better look like to you? Dear Kobe | By Allen Iverson - Better | Mamba Forever | Nike -