How To Be Kobe Bryant In The Workplace

May 23, 2009

If you were to take away the Hollywood sign, most everyone would notice and panic. Similar to that sentiment, if Kobe Bryant were to play basketball in any city other than Los Angeles, people would be in disarray and begin a ‘bring Kobe back’ campaign. While Kobe leaving LA may seem like a far off issue, Kobe has become such an established brand in Los Angeles, that Los Angeles without Kobe is like a sandwich with no bread. While the average fan can only imagine being Kobe Bryant and making the clutch shot in the last moments of a game, that doesn’t mean you can’t be Kobe Bryant in the workplace.

When Kobe entered the NBA he was just 17 years old at the time. As a rookie, scouts and NBA analysts saw flashes of brilliance, but also saw streaks of immaturity and lack of discipline. For most of us, we too go through something similar to what Kobe had to go through. When starting a job, we try to do the best we can, but that doesn’t mean we always do it right. Kobe’s role during his first year was to learn and play the role he was given which was off the bench at the time. When starting with a company it is important to spend time learning the in’s and out’s of how the company runs and also to perform your tasks to the best of your abilities. Doing so will guarantee you more ‘playing time’ later on as you gain the the respect of your peers and seniors.

What Is Your Potential?

As a rookie, Kobe was already being compared to Michael Jordan. While analysts understood that Kobe still had a ways to go before he was at that level, Kobe’s potential was set at Hall of Fame status. In the workplace, your potential plays a large part in your career. Right from the start when you hand over your resume to an employer, they will look at you and begin to judge you on (1) how you can help their company and (2) what is your potential growth as far as value goes. Understanding that others will always have expectations of you should be a driving force for you to want to do more. Kobe Bryant has been glorified for being one of the hardest workers in the game today. No one doubts his determination and drive to win. You can do the same in the workplace. While you may not be practicing free-throws over and over, you are working to improve your skill sets through tasks given at work. Having a good work ethic means you are giving others less of a reason to doubt your commitment to work and value to the company.

Be The Leader

When times get tough, teams will look to a leader to guide them. With that said, Kobe Bryant is the one that the Lakers look to for that sort of guidance. From his actions, others learn and become confident that they can win in any contest. In the same fashion, you can be the same sort of leader that Kobe is on the court but at your workplace. Taking the initiative to help those who need it most is one of the biggest roles that a leader does. Just how a ship cannot function without its captain, a workplace will struggle without a leader. While ‘leader’ isn’t an actual position within the workplace, it is a role that you can assume. Kobe began to assume that role as he grew older and wiser. As he began to gain more and more trust from his teammates as well as his fans, he became the leader that the team needed. You don’t just wake up one day and become the leader, you need to grow into that role.

Losing Is Not An Option

If you have the mindset that losing is part of the game, then you are not Kobe Bryant. As a fierce competitor, Kobe has somewhat eliminated the idea of losing from his vocabulary. When NBA player’s were asked what player was the hardest to guard in the NBA, Kobe was a majority winner. If he needs to score 40 points, he will do it. If he has to guard the best player on the other team, he will do it. Even if he had to play 5 on 1, he would do it. This is the mentality that one should have at work. Thinking that you are unable to do something is a loss. No one likes losing and neither should you. Taking a step back and looking at it from a realistic standpoint, everyone will ‘lose’ at some point in their life. Some us more than others. But from those losses, we must learn so that we can ‘win’ the next time. Just how NBA teams watch film on other NBA teams they are going to play or have played already, a loss just means that you are going to know what to do the next time the situation happens again.

Be The Closer

Ask any coach in the NBA or any analyst who they would want to take the last shot in a game and you would hear Kobe’s name 9 out of 10 times. When you need that big basket, there is no one better at getting that bucket than Kobe. Through sheer determination and amazing execution, Kobe is one of the deadliest closers in the game. At work, don’t just be another employee. Be the closer. Whether it is a last minute project that needs to get finished or a client that would be huge for the company, make yourself that guy that everyone wants to turn too. In basketball, you can play 3 great quarters of basketball, but if you can’t close it out, then it is all for nothing. Being the guy that people can count on to finish strong and deliver put yourself in elite territory.

While most of us will never be able to play in an NBA All-Star game nor win the NBA Finals, but that doesn’t mean we can’t strive to make a name for ourselves in our own way. In the workplace, part of being successful is having both determination and desire for perfection.

Back in 2004, Kobe said:

The motivation for me is just the game itself, just playing the game the right way and trying to win, compete every time I step out there on the floor. That’s motivation enough for me to go out there and play well.

When Kobe is long gone we will remember his mind blowing dunks, his killer instinct, and his ability to completely change a game.

When you step out onto the court, how will people remember you?


Photo by KB24

You Might Also Like


  • Reply shaliza May 29, 2009 at 5:10 am

    yep, without Kobe it’s gonna be like bread without butter..
    Kobe for MVP!
    Go Lakers!

  • Reply Winning Solves [Almost] Everything - Welcome to LA June 1, 2009 at 2:55 am

    […] In the past month or so I have heard ramblings about how great LeBron James is and how he and Kobe Bryant were destined for a classic NBA finals which would be remembered for all times. Instead, Nike is […]

  • Reply Carpe Diem: Riding The Wave To Success - Welcome to LA November 4, 2009 at 2:52 am

    […] for example Kobe Bryant. If you had visited his website earlier this year, one of the most noticeable bits of information […]

  • Reply The Athlete Versus The Brand – Welcome to LA May 5, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    […] Kobe Bryant to Derek Jeter, Nike has profited off a network of athletes that as a group make up the Nike […]

  • Leave a Reply