Living life 24/8

I was never much of a fan of Kobe Bryant. His life’s mission was to one-up my childhood hero – Michael Jordan. While he played, I cheered against him *every single time* regardless of whether his opponents were in the West or the East. I was thrilled when I realized he would never reach championship #6, never equal MJ’s legacy.

But over time that perspective changed. LeBron became the next one to chase MJ and LeBron’s lack of killer instinct led me to appreciate Kobe’s competitiveness and work ethic much more. In hindsight, I should have reveled in the chance to watch someone who looked, played, and competed so much like MJ. Kobe was the closest thing to MJ, even if he never equaled him. I should have admired Kobe for similar reasons why I deify MJ.

Kobe had a 24/8 approach to his work. He always looked to squeeze in an extra day, extra hour, extra minute of work. As I’ve been listening to more stories from players who knew him, I’m realizing so many of them center around how hard the man worked and how much he inspired those around him. He left no stone unturned to win. He had the same killer instinct and ruthlessness MJ had.

And the place where Kobe could have actually surpassed MJ is his post-NBA career. It became clear to everyone that Kobe was a gifted writer and communicator, someone who was entranced by the art of narrative in the context of achieving greatness. He would have made a great venture capitalist.

As a lifelong NBA fan, I share the shock of millions around the world. Only someone as special as Kobe Bryant could have catalyzed such an outpouring of support. He is dominating the news cycle the way he dominated the hardcourt. In his passing, Kobe has left an impact even on those who rooted against him in every game he played. That’s pretty special.