You probably haven’t heard of Kobe Bryant, but he was one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He broke many basketball records during his career and here are some of them:
A record breaker
“Bryant hit an incredible 81 points in a single game against the Toronto Raptors in January of 2006 — 10 more than anyone had ever scored before. The Lakers coach at the time, Phil Jackson, said after: “I’ve seen some remarkable games, but I’ve never seen one like that before.”
He was the youngest ever player to play in the NBA at just 19 years and 170 days of age in 1998 when he played on the Los Angeles Lakers team alongside Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, and Tim Duncan, amongst others.
During his career, Bryant hit 33,643 points, made 8,378 free throws, and completed 4,010 turnovers. All three are records for his position.
Only four players in NBA history have scored 33,000 points, but no one did it faster than Bryant. He was aged 37 years and 138 days when he hit that landmark against the Sacramento Kings in January 2016.
Bryant didn’t slow down as he got older. In his final game for the Lakers in 2016 aged 37, he hit 60 points against the Utah Jazz, in turn becoming the oldest player in the division’s history to hit such a score in a single game.”
Many compare him to Michael Jordan, the greatest player in history and say that he was as close to the level of Jordan as any other player.
He didn’t start well
However, he didn’t start his basketball life as naturally gifted, in fact at the age of 11 he went to a summer camp and didn’t score a single basket during the entire camp. He admits that he wasn’t any good and he could have given up at that point.
Due to an incredible inner resilience and positive mindset, he decided that hard work and practice could improve him, so he dedicated himself to practice and sacrifice.
Over the next few years, he improved dramatically through his amazing work ethic, and he eventually became a high school star. Then surprisingly at the age of 19 instead of going to college he decided to test himself and go straight into the professional NBA league.
Straight from High School
He was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers and his career began in earnest. However, in his first season in the West Conference Finals Playoff game 5 against Utah Jazz something happened which would have destroyed most players.
With the clock counting down with seconds to go he had the chance to win the game and he shot an ‘Air Ball’ this is the worst nightmare for a basketball player as it is so humiliating to miss the basket completely.
If this wasn’t bad enough he then had another chance to score and he shot another air ball! By now the Utah Jazz fans were laughing and jeering and it was all falling apart. Then amazingly he had another chance, and he shot a third air ball!
This was televised and millions were watching on TV, and he had just shot 3 air balls in a single match! But he had one final attempt to make things right and he took another shot to win the game. The ball flew through the air and this time………… the ball missed the basket again! Yes he shot 4 air balls in front of millions. He was the laughingstock of the basketball world.
How did he respond?
What did Kobe Bryant do – how did he respond? As soon as the plane landed back in LA he went to the gym where they practiced – it was 3am in the morning and the janitor let him in. He then shot the ball until the sun came up. He was then in there every day by himself until he was satisfied that he was ready to play again.
What incredible drive and mindset and that is why he became possibly the second-best player in history after Michael Jordan. I don’t believe he ever shot another air ball in his career, and he hit many game winning shots, going on to win 4 NBA Playoff titles with the Lakers.
He retired aged 37 in 2016 and he had amassed a $600 million fortune from his career. Things were looking good for him, and life was great. He had a lovely wife and 3 beautiful daughters. What could go wrong?
Tragically on the 26th January 2020 Kobe and his daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash.
He was gone in an instant. Nobody saw it coming, no one planned for it, no one could do anything about it.
He was worth $600 million with a wonderful family, and he was gone. I have heard of so many people dying unexpectedly. I heard about a man in his 40’s dying in his sleep leaving a wife and two children. I heard about a pastor’s wife in her 50’s dying unexpectedly leaving him devastated.
Just this week I read about a 16-year-old healthy boy collapsing on the football field and dying of an undetected heart condition.
Nothing is guaranteed
None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. We cannot guarantee that we will wake up tomorrow or that we will get home to see our loved ones. I know this is brutal, but it is the truth. So, this is why I believe we should live each day to the full.
Don’t let petty arguments and disagreements spoil the day. Don’t go to bed angry with your partner because nothing is guaranteed. I read somewhere that we should ‘live each day like it is our last’.
Life isn’t about amassing huge wealth to buy the latest car, the biggest home, the yacht. I believe it’s more about relationships and getting the most out of each day. I get real pleasure from working hard using each minute of the day effectively, then I love to eat with my wife Julie and watch a great box set while laughing together and discussing life.
Then I love to receive the phone call from my 98-year-old mother to tell me she is going to bed, and we say goodnight and God bless to each other.
Precious things in life
I know it’s a bit brutal to talk like this, but it is reality and if we can have our priorities in order we will have more peace in our lives. I don’t dwell on this for even one minute, I just live each day like it’s my last yet believing that it isn’t.
Thoughts for the week.
- What are the important things in your life?
- Where do relationships rank in your order of importance?
- This week ponder on the reality of life and how to make the most of each day.
- If we go to bed satisfied that we have made the most of the day then we can sleep peacefully.
Well that’s it for this week have a wonderful weekend and keep believing.