According to a recent study, conducted by individuals more intelligent than we are, there are 27 different human emotions. Of this number, perhaps the most identifiable and also contagious, are excitement and joy. Last month at Nike Town London, with both emotions palpably filling the air, a small group of very lucky individuals packed onto the ground floor, awaiting five-time NBA champ and future Hall of Famer, Kobe Bryant.
Over a remarkable 20 year NBA career, we’ve seen Bryant travel the entire spectrum of emotion, from plucky teenage upstart to dominant force, naturally progressing into the role of supervillain before arriving at the sage-like elder statesman role he now enjoys today.
A student of the undeniable Michael Jordan, the similarities extend beyond on-court moves, with coaches and teammates on record likening Bryant’s mental focus and sharpness to that of a “genius” and “serial-killer”. Choosing to channel his energy away from surface emotion and into a deeper psychological state, this is now more commonly as the ‘Mamba Mentality’.
When Lonzo Ball, future hope for the NBA and Kobe’s Lakers, went off for 36 points at a Summer League game this year, he fittingly referenced this mentality, revealing the impact and lasting legacy of a man, now happily retired. Lonzo wasn’t born when Kobe first entered the league, neither were the vast majority of kids, many basketball players themselves, crowded around. Above the stage area, banners detailed the five new colourways of Kobe signature shoe. Applying colour psychology to the mid-top Kobe A.D. - ‘Detached’, ‘Fearless’, ‘Passion’, ‘Honesty’ and ‘Optimism’, helped to add a personal story to the shoes.
When the crowd had cleared we had a chance to speak with Kobe on the secrets to developing a Mamba mentality, plans for the future and also his daughter, who’s developed a pretty mean jumper.