What Kobe Bryant Meant to the Non-Athlete

In the weeks since the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter accident in Calabasas, Calif., stories have poured in from across the sports world about the man Bryant was as a basketball player, a father, and a leader.

But what did Bryant mean for non-athletes?

Everyone has heard of “Mamba Mentality,” how Bryant would show up to the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice facility at 3 a.m. to put shots up, or when he tore his Achilles but still got up and took two free throws before walking off the court.

The list goes on, and by listening to all these retellings of how he worked and how he trained the next generation of players to work even harder, we can see how committed Bryant was. But if you take a step back, you start to realize that Mamba Mentality had a lot less to do with basketball, and a lot more to do with life.

See, Mamba Mentality meant giving it your all, no matter the circumstances. If you only have 20 minutes to work out, you work out for 20 minutes. If an assignment is due Monday, you turn it in Sunday. More importantly, you are never complacent. Regardless of your status, whether it’s team captain or CEO, always strive for growth, because the second you stop, you allow others to catch up.

All of Bryant’s teachings are a message for life, not just sports. Sure, we can honor him by playing our hearts out on the court or on the field. But we can also honor him just as well by working just as hard in pursuing our degrees, taking a stand for what we believe in, and never giving up so that we can achieve every dream that we set our hearts on. If we set a goal, and never stop until we achieve it, we can all honor his legacy, regardless of our playing field.