As one of the most talented, decorated, and competitive players in NBA history, one might assume that Kobe Bryant relies on no advice except his own. But as he readies himself for a post-playing career that he recently called “scary as hell,” Bryant admits that he’s sought guidance from a litany of people that have enjoyed similar success on other career paths.
The remarkably candid interview of Bryant was conducted by Bloomberg News.
How does Kobe learn? He “just cold-calls people.” ‘People’ is the operative word here; a select few have access to the confidantes Bryant lists.
Question: You’ll pick up the phone and call people who are leaders in industry just pick their brain?
Answer: Exactly [laughs]. I just cold-call people. Absolutely. I just cold-call people and pick their brain about stuff. Some of the questions that I ask will seem really, really simple and stupid, quite honestly, to them. But if I don’t know, I don’t know and I have to ask. I’ll just do that; I’ll just ask questions. I want to learn more about how they built their business or how they run their companies, and how they see the world.
Q: So who are some of the people that you pick up the phone and call?
A: (laughs) We can just start in the Nike family – I cold-call [Nike CEO] Mark Parker all the time… [Apple VP of Design] Jony Ive, [“Just Do It” coiner and advertising executive] Dan Weiden, Oprah Winfrey, recently [The Huffington Post founder] Arianna Huffington. The list goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on – Hilary Swank (laughs) – it just goes on.
Bryant’s unmatched work ethic and rare intelligence are the most talked-about attributes that combine with his physical prowess to make him one of basketball’s best ever. That he frequently appeals to other industry leaders for advice is yet another example of both traits in action.
Kobe just wants to be the best. The more we learn about his process to doing so, the more unique and fascinating a figure he becomes.
(Video via Bloomberg News)
What do you think?
Follow Jack on Twitter at @ArmstrongWinter.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.