And I will speak highly of him – not just because he was a man who played twenty years and excelled in scoring more points than any other LA Laker in history.
It’s much more than that. It’s what he did to make himself a great basketball player and one of the most respected people ever associated with the NBA.
If you ever followed the NBA with more than a passing glance at scores and highlights, not many people could ever make the claim of having outworked Kobe Bryant on the details of the game. No one prepared himself physically, mentally, and emotionally as much. He did everything he needed to do to make himself ready and better than the day before. He did his homework.
For 20 years.
For one team.
And he played defense like he valued it more than anything.
When he graciously retired from playing, he stayed involved giving back to the sport that made him the role model that he was willing to be. And as the father of four girls, he came to understand that was his biggest role.
Oh, and he won an Oscar for a documentary he made and produced about basketball.
One particular story about Kobe I thought about today and I remember reading it a couple of years ago because it was about his English teacher in high school.
It’s been more than two decades since Kobe Bryant graduated from Lower Merion High School, a public school in the suburbs of Philadelphia. But the retired NBA star, now 40, still remembers one teacher in particular: Mr. Fisk, who taught English.
“He had a great quote: ‘Rest at the end, not in the middle,’” Bryant told podcast host and best-selling author Lewis Howes on an episode of “The School of Greatness.” “That’s something I always live by.”
I’ll definitely talk about Kobe Bryant in class.