Kobe Bryant was known for his legendary drive and competitiveness during his playing days. The theory was always that no one would work harder than Bryant, before or after a a game.
That era of Los Angeles Lakers basketball was celebrated on Monday night when Kobe’s numbers were retired for the Lakers. But now in the post-basketball phase of his life, Bryant says he’s moved on from the game entirely. Though he might still dish out advice to current players, and his “Mamba Mentality” has inspired a new generation of NBA stars, Bryant says basketball doesn’t call to him directly anymore.
In fact, in a talk with Yahoo’s Shams Charania, Bryant says the “competitive juices” are gone for him now and he doesn’t even play basketball anymore.
“Nah, I don’t need to keep my competitive juices flowing. It’s kind of like a myth when you have an athlete who’s done something awesome in their career and you feel like ultra competitive and you need something to move that, too. I don’t have that, to be honest with you. I don’t have that.
And I think it’s because, when I played was I competitive? Yeah. But the thing that was most exciting was how to put the pieces of the puzzle together. That was more exciting to me, it wasn’t the end result.”
On the surface, this kind of sounds insane. It’s reasonable that Kobe feels the need to leave basketball behind, or that there’s no desire to keep playing. But that his competitive drives just goes away? Nah, man. It’s just being channeled into other things, like his investments or other challenges.
A person as powerful and driven as Kobe Bryant doesn’t just doesn’t change their nature like that. They just find other stuff to do.