Kobe Bryant: The Success Story
Kobe Bryant was one of the most iconic players in professional basketball history. He was a passionate, hardworking, and determined player who achieved many accomplishments throughout his career. But who was Kobe’s biggest influence in basketball?
It’s not hard to decipher who had the biggest influence on Kobe Bryant’s basketball career: That man was the legendary Michael Jordan. As a young player, Kobe was a huge fan of Jordan and admired his leadership, scoring prowess and athleticism on the court.
Jordan was much more than an influence to Kobe. Kobe followed his footsteps, training and studying hard to be able to match the likes of Jordan. Kobe was even named after Jordan’s jersey number, “23”. His respect and admiration of Jordan is evident in his post-play behavior: donning suits, wearing Jordans and proclaiming his love for the former Bulls icon.
Another major influence for Kobe was Phil Jackson. Kobe had the opportunity to play under the legendary coach for 11 years and truly flourished into a champion with him. Jackson helped Kobe make the transition from the wild, unpredictable player of his early career to the mature, championship-winning leader of his later years.
Jackson’s emphasis on mental and preparatory insight, along with his “Zen” philosophy, enabled Bryant to understand and focus his on-court game.
In addition to Jordan and Jackson, Kobe was also influenced by ex-teammates and coaches alike:
- Shaquille O’Neal: Shaq and Kobe formed one of the most dangerous duos in basketball history. Under the direction of Phil Jackson, they exploited mismatches and played the game the “right” way, winning three NBA championships together.
- Jerry West: Kobe learned everything he could from legendary player and executive, Jerry West. West’s wisdom and guidance was invaluable for Kobe during his formative years in the NBA.
- Diego Corral: Kobe’s long-time trainer and mentor. Corral was an integral part of Kobe’s preparation and transformation, both as a leader on and off the court.
Kobe Bryant’s career was fueled by ambition, determination, and the wisdom of great basketball minds. Michael Jordan provided Kobe with a path to follow, while Phil Jackson gave the direction and strategy necessary to become a champion. Other players and coaches had an impact on Kobe as well, and their collective influence is what allowed Kobe to flourish and become the superstar we all know him to be.