Mamba Mentality: What I learned from the Mamba Pillars (2024)

To me and many others, the late, great Kobe Bryant was an inspiration. He taught me that life is a constant quest of becoming the best version possible and to leave no stones left unturned. As Kobe said before, he wasn’t the tallest or strongest, but the way he approached the game was his true weapon. He was able to tackle life through a Mamba Mentality.

The Mamba Mentality can be defined as focusing on the process and trusting in the hard work when it matters most (from his book, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play). The Mamba Mentality can be made up of 5 pillars: Passion, Obsession, Relentless, resiliency, Fearlessness. Rather than only using Kobe Bryant examples, I want to give my perspective on the pillars as well.

Although Mamba mentality was used for basketball, it can be applied to a variety of other things.


Mamba Mentality: What I learned from the Mamba Pillars (1)

Simply put, love what you do. Passion becomes a pushing factor to become better because you love what you do. Kobe Bryant loved the game of basketball. In his short story “Dear Basketball”, it says “You asked for my hustle, I gave you my heart. Because it came with so much more.” For me, I love to create, and I love to play basketball. I feel the exact same about those two things compared to when I was younger. In terms of basketball, it’s just fun playing and practicing for hours and hours. I was lucky to find my passion for creating at an early age. I loved to draw, sculpt, and have that creative freedom. When I was 13, that is when I fell in love with basketball. The process of getting better, putting moves together and creating something “new” was fun. When I wasn’t drawing, I was playing basketball and vice versa. I also didn’t do those things because I was told too, I did it because I want to. You also fall in love with the little things. From randomly sketching to warm up shoot arounds, those little things are fun too.

Unfortunately, we don’t know when we will find our passion. Therefore, we need to explore all kinds of activities until we find the one moment that we become hooked for good. It makes you want to give 150% and then some.

This illustration demonstrates the raw emotion Kobe Bryant showed during a basketball game. Whether it’s a double clutch reverse dunk or a game winner, Kobe showed his passion for basketball every time he stepped on the court.

Kobe quote: “Passion is the fuel for success.”


Mamba Mentality: What I learned from the Mamba Pillars (2)

Find every way possible to become better each day. Why not aim to be the best? By doing that, you become the best version of yourself. Doesn’t matter if you come up short on being the best ever, the important part is that you became the best “you” possible. To be the best, one must become obsessed with the details. The goal is to overanalyze everything, from your opponents to real life examples. The answers we are looking for are there, we just have to find it.

When I am looking at Kobe Bryant’s fadeaway, I look at how he moves his body. Where does the ball start? How does he move his body? How does he read the defender? How much separation does he need against certain defenders? How much arc does he usually put on the ball? Then I backtrack and what situation made him consider shooting a fadeaway? How does he shoot going to the left? How does he shoot going to the right? How does he keep his balance? You start to inspect things at a micro level. If physically I am not able to do exactly the way Kobe does it, how can I adjust it to fit me while I try to achieve good results?

It’s no different when I look at art. If there is a style that I like, what do I like about that style? How does the artist draw their style? What techniques are they using that I am missing? Can that style be replicated with different techniques? How are they using their medium? Essentially, it’s looking at the big picture (or goal) and breaking it down to small details. Once you do that, the blueprint to reach the destination becomes possible.

This illustration shows how obsessed Kobe was with Basketball. Kobe Bryant is dripping in sweat, yet he is still practicing his free throws. Kobe was known for his 5 a.m. workouts and doing whatever possible to find an edge.

Kobe quote: “You want to train as much as you can, as often as you can.”


Mamba Mentality: What I learned from the Mamba Pillars (3)

To be relentless is to never let up and to never settle. As we become better or are in an advantageous position, we tend to get complacent. Coming from my competitive spirit, I find it disrespectful if I am not giving it my all towards my opponent. There are many reasons for this thinking. The main reason is I want to send a message of, “no matter how hard you try, you will not beat me, you will not stop me.” Anyone who dares to stand in my way will only fail. If I start holding back towards my opponents, things stop being fun. The reason it becomes disrespectful the opponent is because it doesn’t allow them to get a true sense of your worth or skills. That is why I want to get better; I want to compete at the highest level. I can’t afford to get complacent because it will only be a disservice to myself and potential growth.

This illustration represents Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game. Kobe never showed any mercy when he played basketball. He relentlessly attacked the basket and was an unstoppable scorer. Although he had other memorable high scoring games, this 81-point game is the most scored in modern basketball.

Kobe Quote: “Rest at the end, not in the middle.”


Mamba Mentality: What I learned from the Mamba Pillars (4)

There will be times where things will not go our way. However, we can’t let that deter us from accomplishing our goals and dreams. I want to know if I can overcome those obstacles because it’s proof that I am growing. Once we give up, that will become a lingering regret or lead to a “what if''. I personally don’t want to live my life in regret because I gave up. I might not be great doing something right now, but I will keep at it until I am. When I play one-on-one with people, I want them to know that I will not give up. I will keep on coming at you until I win. If you beat me, that’s fine but the odds of you winning lower every time we play. Kobe Bryant showed us time and time again why resilience is important. Kobe could’ve given up after being down 3-2 to Boston in 2010, but he didn’t. Eventually he overcame that challenge and won his 5th championship.

This illustration represents how Kobe rose to the challenge, even when the obstacle seems too great. When Kobe tore his Achilles tendon, he knew that the Lakers needed him to hit two free throws. He showed us that despite the injury, it will not stop him. Kobe went out the way he wanted to go out, not because of an injury.

Kobe Quote: “The proposition of losing to these guys in these finals again and knowing what that means as a Laker fan. I don’t think so.”


Mamba Mentality: What I learned from the Mamba Pillars (5)

Don’t let your fear stop you from achieving your dreams and to not back down from anything. Some people are afraid to fail, its human nature. However, being fearless means putting yourself out there regardless of the outcome. Sometimes we get caught up with the big picture that we freeze up with fear. Once you freeze up, it’s over. As people, we need to understand that it is okay to feel this emotion, but we can’t give into it. The more moments we put ourselves into, theoretically, it should become easier over time. The reason I say theoretically is because it is our job to be prepared for those situations. If we become fully prepared for when the situation arises, all we must do is follow through. As Kobe mentioned before, there is no principle that doesn't differ between a game winner and a regular shot. As long as you go through the motion that you practiced, a game winner is just one more shot.

This illustration shows that Kobe never backed down to Jordan. Other people in the league were scared of Jordan’s presence. Kobe took the challenge to show the world that he isn’t afraid of anybody.

Kobe Quote: “If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re probably going to fail.”

Kobe Bryant imparted valuable teachings throughout his life, but the one I value most is the Mamba Mentality. This is only scratching the surface of Mamba Mentality, but hopefully I was able to teach something valuable from this. As the great legend rests peacefully, his legacy will live on as the Mamba Mentality.

All illustrations were drawn by me. Let me know which one is your favorite and if you have a favorite Kobe Bryant moment/lesson.

Mamba Mentality: What I learned from the Mamba Pillars (2024)


What are the pillars of the Mamba Mentality? ›

Following my interpretation of Aristotle's work, I dissect the Mamba Mentality, starting with the five pillars that Bryant articulated himself (Fearlessness, Relentlessness, Passion, Obsessiveness, and Resilience), into 24 different accessible attributes.

What is the Mamba Mentality summary? ›

The Mamba Mentality encompasses a mindset that doesn't focus solely on achieving a goal. Instead, it looks at the whole process of getting there – the journey – to the extent that it becomes, as Kobe himself said, “a way of life.” In November 2015, Kobe announced that he would retire at the end of the season.

What are the core values of the Mamba Mentality? ›

The Mamba Mentality can be made up of 5 pillars: Passion, Obsession, Relentless, resiliency, Fearlessness. Rather than only using Kobe Bryant examples, I want to give my perspective on the pillars as well.

What is the Mamba Mentality in a nutshell? ›

Being exceptional takes work and practice, and that's what Kobe wanted to teach. Whether playing a sport or working a job, you should always strive to do and be the best. Kobe had five pillars to channeling your inner Mamba mentality – fearlessness, relentlessness, passion, obsessiveness, and resilience.

What is an example of Mamba Mentality? ›

“Hard work outweighs talent — every time,” Bryant famously said. “Mamba mentality is about 4 a.m. workouts, doing more than the next guy, and then trusting in the work you've put in when it's time to perform.” Bryant's insane work ethic was legendary.

How do I develop my Mamba Mentality? ›

Maintain a commitment to hard work and excellence.

Kobe had a laser-like focus on his commitment to excellence. His work ethic was unmatched by his peers and he refused to be complacent in his career. “Without studying, preparation, and practice, you're leaving the outcome to fate. I don't do fate,” said Kobe.

What is the best quote from the Mamba Mentality? ›

"The moment you give up is the moment you let someone else win" is a powerful quote by The Mamba Mentality, Kobe Bryant. This statement encapsulates the relentless determination and drive that defined his career and personal philosophy.

What is the Mamba Mentality mindset? ›

The Mamba mentality challenges us to envision areas where we can strive for mastery and question if we're putting in the necessary work to achieve it. It prompts us to view failure not as a setback, but as a stepping stone towards improvement—an idea echoed by fellow basketball great Michael Jordan.

Is Mamba Mentality worth reading? ›

Bryant's passion for the game and relentless pursuit of perfection shine through every page, inspiring readers to adopt a similar mentality in their own endeavors. Overall, it's a must-read for fans seeking a deeper understanding of Kobe Bryant's approach to basketball and life. Fernando A.

What is the full form of Mamba Mentality? ›

"The Mamba Mentality simply means trying to be the. best version of yourself. That's what the mentality. means. Everyday you're trying to become better." - Kobe.

What is the Mamba attitude? ›

At its core, the Mamba Mentality is about embracing challenges with a fearless attitude, pushing past limitations, and relentlessly pursuing one's goals. In many ways, it mirrors the mindset required to navigate the complexities of life itself.

What is the Mamba Mentality theory? ›

“To sum up what Mamba Mentality is, it means to be able to constantly try to be the best version of yourself,” Bryant said.

What is the philosophy of Kobe Bryant? ›

Kobe Bryant described it as a mindset that involves a relentless pursuit of excellence, the ability to adapt, and a constant desire to learn and improve. He applied this mentality to dominate the basketball court, leaving behind a legacy that transcends sports.

What is mamba strategy? ›

The Mamba Mentality is a mindset of excellence, continuous growth, and relentless pursuit of one's goals. While Kobe Bryant showcased this on the basketball court, the principles are universal.


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