Over the last 20 years, Kobe Bryant transformed himself into one of the best NBA players of all time, but it came at a cost. A literal cost. If you’re not familiar with Kobe’s family history, he has almost no relationship with his parents, and it’s at least partly because of issues surrounding money. Towards the end of the 2015-16 NBA season, he said that he hopes the strained relationship gets better over time, but for now, he’s not on good terms with his mom or dad.
It sounds like he’s had to cut ties with other family members and friends as a result of money, too. He just penned a long letter to his 17-year-old self for The Players’ Tribune, and in the letter, he warns young Kobe about giving too much money to those around him. He tells his younger self to "invest" in his family and friends and not to "just give," and he pushes his younger self to use his position of power to benefit those closest to him:
Use your success, wealth and influence to put them in the best position to realize their own dreams and find their true purpose. Put them through school, set them up with job interviews and help them become leaders in their own right. Hold them to the same level of hard work and dedication that it took for you to get to where you are now, and where you will eventually go.
But the most telling part of the letter comes when Kobe addresses the issues he’s had with his parents. He doesn’t pull any punches as he talks about creating "the right budget" for them in an effort to improve everyone’s future:
The most important advice I can give to you is to make sure your parents remain PARENTS and not managers.
Before you sign that first contract, figure out the right budget for your parents — one that will allow them to live beautifully while also growing your business and setting people up for long-term success. That way, your children’s kids and their kids will be able to invest in their own futures when the time comes.
The entire letter is worth a few minutes of your time. You can read it here.