Kobe, Lombardi and Wooden

Kobe Bryant

It has taken me quite some time to absorb the loss of Kobe Bryant. As a kid growing up, I tried to get as much information as I could about the great John Wooden, coach of the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team. I was crazy about finding out whatever I could about Wooden and the teams he coached. I was a basketball junkie. I knew there was more. This obsession helped create some of my thinking, which was foundational in the pursuit of my career and how it would unfold. As an aside, please note this research I was doing was pre-internet.

I have often used a quote I had always attributed to Wooden but, in my research for this blog, discovered should actually be attributed to Vince Lombardi, legendary Green Bay Packers coach: “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”

Vince Lombardi

Now I get to Kobe. Kobe had an incredible work ethic. He knew there was always more he could add to his game. All he had to do was just “practice perfectly.” He also had a mindset that actually transcended the sport of basketball. He was aware that there was more to just being one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He pursued careers in writing, coaching and film making. Besides his basketball accomplishments, he was a father, an entrepreneur, and an Oscar winner. He knew there was more to life than conventional success as defined by the sport of basketball. There was always more to learn, do, create and give.

Doc Rivers, a close friend of Kobe once said, “I thought he had so much more to do, and he was starting to do it.”

We will never know what he would have been. What we can take away is, no matter what we do in life, there is more than just conventional success. We have to improve, and this has to be constant and never ending. Can we build a legacy?

Mike Bossy

P.S. Did you ever notice that the greats go by just one name? We use that one name and people know who we mean: LaBron, Michael, Larry, Oprah, and Churchill.

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