STEM Curriculum, Activities & Resources K-8 | STEM Sports

Bigger than Basketball: Mamba Mentality

“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do.” -Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, sometimes known by his nickname Black Mamba, is most commonly recognized for his impact on the National Basketball Association (NBA). This is no surprise considering the overwhelmingly successful career he had. He was a mentor and inspiration to people he knew and did not know alike. The leadership role that Kobe took on spanned far beyond the court due to his Mamba Mentality and genuine support for women’s athletics. 

Mamba Mentality is something that Kobe lived by not only in basketball but in all aspects of his life. It is focused around hard work, leadership and a mindset that does not allow failure to be an option. 

Kobe told the Amazon Book Review, “Hard work outweighs talent – every time.  Mamba Mentality is about 4am workouts, doing more than the next guy and then trusting in the work you’ve put in when it’s time to perform.  Without studying, preparation and practice, you’re leaving the outcome to fate. I don’t do fate.”

With a mindset like this, it is no wonder that Kobe will forever be known as one of the greats. He passed this competitive nature onto his four daughters: Natalia, Gianna, Bianka and Capri. 

Having a house full of girls, Kobe, unlike most male athletes, took a special interest in women’s athletics. He took pride in being a “girl dad” and embracing everything that having daughters had to offer. He believed that if something was done right, it did not matter who was doing it or what gender they were- they were winning. 

“It’s all about focus; I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, doesn’t matter. It’s just having a focus and having a purpose,”  Kobe said on the Pac-12 Networks during the Oregon vs. USC women’s basketball game in January 2019.

In December 2019, Kobe filed to trademark the term Mambacita for his daughter Gianna, who tragically died alongside her dad in the helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. He did this as a spin off his own nickname and, in giving it to his daughter, was showing that she too had the “assassin mentality”. 

Women’s sports have been in a constant battle to receive the recognition they deserve and need to progress. They found an ally in Kobe that would set them on a path to inspire female athletes and put them in a position to succeed athletically and in their lives as a whole.

In 2018, Byrant partnered with a sports academy to create the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California. The academy focuses on giving men, women and youth athletes the training and education they need to maximize their potential. Outside of physical training, the Mamba Sports Academy develops the athlete as an individual, working to instill the Mamba Way in them. 

When Kobe’s daughter Gianna started playing in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Basketball League, he took an extra interest in women’s basketball. According to parents and coaches, he was always generous and supportive of the girls and their teams. 

When people think about professional athletes it is usually followed by admiration. But, what makes an athlete someone who should be idolized? Someone who should be talked about long after they are done playing the sport? 

An example of this can be found in Kobe Bryant. Someone who excels athletically but does not stop there. They use their reach to impact people in a way that betters them and society as a whole. Kobe emphasized the importance of education, advocated for women’s sports and introduced a mindset that very few people have. 

Kobe is an idol not only because of his MVP’s, Championships or records. He is an idol because of what he did off the court and with his daughters. Kobe and his daughter Gianna will be deeply missed not only by their family but also the millions of people they impacted.