60 Kobe Bryant Basketball Quotes On Winning, Greatness, Practice & More

motivational quotes Mar 26, 2024
kobe bryant basketball quotes

Inspirational basketball quotes by Kobe Bryant:  

Kobe Bryant was a legend in the world of basketball, known for his incredible career but also for the profound impact he had on so many people on and off the court.

Kobe spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers where he won five NBA championships. He was an 18-time NBA All-Star, 2008 NBA MVP, and a 2-time Olympic gold medal winner.

On the court, Kobe was known for his elite scoring ability. He won the NBA scoring title twice. In 2006, he scored a career-high 81 points in a single game against the Toronto Raptors, which is the second-highest number of points scored in a game in NBA history.

Kobe was posthumously inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020.

Beyond his basketball achievements, Kobe was known for his Mamba Mentality, a mindset centered around hard work, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of greatness. 

Kobe's mindset and dedication to basketball has inspired players worldwide. The following collection of quotes gives you a glimpse into the mentality that made Kobe stand out from other players.

Kobe's words provide inspiration for a variety of basketball topics like winning, pursuing greatness, practice, confidence, teamwork, leadership and more.

You also might like:

• What is the Mamba Mentality? Analyzing Kobe's Legendary Mindset >>

• 24 Best Kobe Bryant Mamba Mentality Quotes  >>



Top Kobe Bryant Basketball Quotes

To Kobe, basketball was much more than a game. It was a platform where Kobe could continually learn and improve, both physically and mentally. It was also a platform where he could inspire others and teach lessons that applied to basketball and life. Here's what Kobe had to say about the game he loved so much.

1. “When I have the chance to guard Michael Jordan, I want to guard him. I want him. It’s the ultimate challenge.”



2. “These young guys are playing checkers. I’m out there playing chess.”

3. “I see the beauty in getting up in the morning and being in pain because I know all the hard work that it took to get to this point. So, I’m not, I’m not sad about [retiring]. I’m very appreciative of what I’ve had.”

4. "There’s no need to get too crazy or bent out of shape. There are still challenges every day. But I’m still having fun. I was born to play this game. I still love it."

5. "I’ve shot too much from the time I was eight years old. But ‘too much’ is a matter of perspective. Some people thought Mozart had too many notes in his compositions. Let me put it this way: I entertain people who say I shoot too much. I find it very interesting. Going back to Mozart, he responded to critics by saying there were neither too many notes or too few. There were as many as necessary."

6. "I never looked at [basketball] as work. I didn't realize it was work until my first year in the NBA. When I came around, I was surrounded by other professionals and I thought basketball was going to be everything to them, and it wasn't. And I was like, 'This is different.' I thought everybody was so obsessive about the game like me. It was like, 'No? Oh, that's hard work.' I get it now."

7. "I love going one-on-one with someone. That's what I do. I've never lost. It's a whole different game, just to have them right in front of you and be able to do whatever you want."

8. “I’ve played with IVs before, during and after games. I’ve played with a broken hand, a sprained ankle, a torn shoulder, a fractured tooth, a severed lip, and a knee the size of a softball. I don’t miss 15 games because of a toe injury that everybody knows wasn’t that serious in the first place.”



9. "Why do you think I’m the best player in the world? Because I never ever get bored with the basics."

10. "To do that, despite the injury, I had to maintain control and dictate where I was going to go with the ball and how I was going to play. I had to, even on one ankle, keep the advantage in my court and never let the defense force me to do something I didn’t want to do. That was the key here, and that’s the key always."

11. “We psych ourselves up too much. Like if you try to talk yourself into, ‘Oh, this is a big moment, this is a big shot,’ you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself. You shot that shot hundreds and thousands of times. Just shoot another one.”

Read also: How To Get Better At Basketball - The Ultimate Guide >>



Mamba Mentality Quotes

The Mamba Mentality is the mindset and philosophy that Kobe Bryant lived by and exhibited throughout his career. As he put it, "To sum up what Mamba Mentality is, it means to be able to constantly try to be the best version of yourself." "It's a constant quest to try to better today than you were yesterday."

The Mamba Mentality isn't just about being the best basketball player you can be, but also the best person you can be. It's about pushing yourself beyond your limits, continuing to learn and never settling for anything less than greatness. 

Here are some of Kobe's quotes about the Mamba Mentality.

12. “I had to organize things. So I created the ‘Black Mamba’. So Kobe has to deal with these issues, all the personal challenges. The Black Mamba steps on the court and does what he does. I’m destroying everybody that steps on the court.”



13. “The mindset isn’t about seeking a result—it’s more about the process of getting to that result. It’s about the journey and the approach. It’s a way of life. I do think that it’s important, in all endeavors, to have that mentality.”

14. “You have to dance beautifully in the box that you're comfortable dancing in. My box was to be extremely ambitious within the sport of basketball. Your box is different than mine. Everybody has their own. It's your job to try to perfect it and make it as beautiful of a canvas as you can make it. And if you have done that, then you have lived a successful life. You have lived with Mamba Mentality.”

Related: What is the Mamba Mentality? Analyzing Kobe's Legendary Mindset >>



Kobe On Being The Best And Chasing Greatness

Kobe didn't just want to be a really good basketball player, he wanted to be the best. He had a relentless pursuit of greatness which was evident through his legendary work ethic. Kobe was extremely motivated, dedicated, and disciplined in his pursuit of excellence. As he once stated, the expectations he had for himself were way higher than the expectations that anyone else could have of him. 

15. "The most important thing is you must put everybody on notice that you’re here and you are for real."



16. “From the beginning, I wanted to be the best. I had a constant craving, a yearning, to improve and be the best.”

17. "We all can be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice. What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that. Family time, hanging out with friends, being a great friend, being a great son, nephew, whatever the case may be. There are sacrifices that come along with making that decision."

18. “If you really want to be great at something, you have to truly care about it. If you want to be great in a particular area, you have to obsess over it.”

19. “I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.”

20. "I want to learn how to become the best basketball player in the world. And if I'm going to learn that, I gotta learn from the best. Kids go to school to be doctors or lawyers, so forth and so on and that's where they study. My place to study is from the best."

21. "I create my own path. It was straight and narrow. I looked at it this way: you were either in my way or out of it."

22. "Haters are a good problem to have. Nobody hates the good ones. They hate the great ones."



23. "We can always kind of be average and do what’s normal. I’m not in this to do what’s normal."

24. "I'm chasing perfection."

25. "What separates great players from all-time great players is their ability to self-assess, diagnose weaknesses, and turn those flaws into strengths."

26. "I knew that I was not going to be stopped. So at the age of eighteen, this was my life...So, you can't possibly become better than me because you're not spending the time on it that I do. Even if you wanna spend the time on it, you can't because you have other things. You have other responsibilities that are taking you away from it. So, I already won."

Read also: How To Be A More Aggressive Basketball Player - 4 Mental Keys >>



Motivational Kobe Quotes About Winning And Championships

For Kobe, winning was everything. And not just winning regular season games or winning playoffs games. Winning championships was all that mattered to him. Rings were what motivated Kobe the most. When he won his first championship with the Lakers, he wanted another. Winning fueled Kobe to continue to work hard and improve every single year. Here are some of Kobe's famous quotes about winning and championships.

27. "I'll do whatever it takes to win games, whether it's sitting on a bench waving a towel, handing a cup of water to a teammate, or hitting the game-winning shot."

28. "There’s been a lot of talk of me being a one-man show but that’s simply not the case. We win games when I score 40 points and we’ve won when I score 10."

29. "Winning takes precedence overall. There’s no gray area. No almosts."



30. "The moment you give up is the moment you let someone else win."

31. “Losing is losing. There aren’t different degrees of losing. You either win a championship or you’re s***. It’s very black and white to me.”

32. "Friends can come and go, but banners hang forever."

33. "I focus on one thing and one thing only - that's trying to win as many championships as I can."

34. "People just don't understand how obsessed I am with winning."

You might like: How to Mentally Prepare For a Basketball Game (5-Step Routine) >>



Best Kobe Bryant Quotes About Practice

For Kobe, practice was much more than just "part of the job." It was the foundation of his success and a core element of his Mamba Mentality. Kobe approached practice with the desire to chase perfection. He wanted to turn weaknesses into strengths and improve every area of his game as much as possible.

Here's what Kobe had to say about practice and what it meant to him throughout his career.

35. “If you want to be a better player, you have to prepare, prepare, and prepare some more.”



36. “One of the main takeaways was that you have to work hard in the dark to shine in the light. Meaning: It takes a lot of work to be successful, and people will celebrate that success, will celebrate that flash.”

37. "I saw you come in and I wanted you to know that it doesn’t matter how hard you work, that I’m willing to work harder than you."

38. "Can I jump over two or three guys like I used to? No. Am I as fast as I used to be? No, but I still have the fundamentals and smarts. That's what enables me to still be a dominant player. As a kid growing up, I never skipped steps. I always worked on fundamentals because I know athleticism is fleeting."

39. "At the end of 2003, my game was complete. Shooting, defense, using the dribble, transition, midrange stuff was all there. Then it was about fine-tuning and trying to improve in each area."

40. “What I mean by that is: if I wanted to implement something new into my game, I’d see it and try incorporating it immediately. I wasn’t scared of missing, looking bad, or being embarrassed. That’s because I always kept the end result, the long game, in my mind. I always focused on the fact that I had to try something to get it, and once I got it, I’d have another tool in my arsenal. If the price was a lot of work and a few missed shots, I was OK with that.”

41. "Have a maniacal work ethic. You want to over-prepare so that luck becomes a product of design."



42. “Rest at the end, not in the middle.”

43. "As a kid, I would work tirelessly on adding elements to my game. I would see something I liked in person or on film, go practice it immediately, practice it more the next day, and then go out and use it. By the time I reached the league, I had a short learning curve. I could see something, download it, and have it down pat."

44. "Learn every aspect of your craft and substance will follow."

Read also: Top 30 Kobe Bryant Quotes About Hard Work & Work Ethic >>



Kobe On Confidence And Self-Belief

Kobe was extremely confident in himself and in his basketball skills, which, why wouldn't he be with how hard he worked throughout his life. Kobe's confidence was earned through his hard work - whether on the court with practice or off the court with film study.

Here's what Kobe had to say about being confident and having belief in yourself.

45. "People say bad things about you in the paper on Monday, and then on Wednesday, you're the greatest thing since sliced bread. I've seen that cycle, so why would I be nervous about it happening?"



46. "If you don't believe in yourself, nobody else will."

47. "I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I'm like, 'My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don't have it. I just want to chill.' We all have self-doubt. You don't deny it, but you also don't capitulate to it. You embrace it."

48. "The last time I was intimidated was when I was six years old in karate class. I was an orange belt and the instructor ordered me to fight a black belt who was a couple years older and a lot bigger. I was scared s***less. I mean, I was terrified and he kicked my a**. But then I realized he didn't kick my a** as bad as I thought he was going to and that there was nothing really to be afraid of."

Related: How To Boost Your Confidence In Basketball | 10 Tips >>



Teamwork & Leadership Quotes From Kobe

Kobe knew that he could only take his teams so far by himself. To win championships, he needed the help of his teammates. He needed to balance taking over games and getting teammates involved. He knew the importance of teamwork and leadership in his quest to win rings. Kobe was a vocal leader and he also lead by the example he set every day. Here's what Kobe had to say about teamwork and being a leader.

49. "The important thing is that your teammates have to know you're pulling for them and you really want them to be successful." 


50. "Find your killer instinct. Impose your will. But also realize you are part of a team."

51. “The beauty of coaching is growing the players from the ground up. That journey continues.”

52. “Leadership is lonely. I’m not going to be afraid of confrontation to get us to where we need to go.”

More quotes: 60 Inspirational Phil Jackson Quotes >>



Other Kobe Bryant Sayings

53. “My approach always was that I’d rather risk embarrassment now than be embarrassed later when I’ve won zero titles.”


54. "It’s the one thing you can control. You are responsible for how people remember you—or don’t. So don’t take it lightly."

55. "I want to see if I can. I don't know if I can. I want to find out. I want to see. I'm going to do what I always do: I'm going to break it down to its smallest form, smallest detail, and go after it. Day by day, one day at a time."

56. "I’m extremely willful to win, and I respond to challenges. It’s not a challenge to me to win the scoring title, because I know I can."

57. "I'm more than comfortable just sitting back and scoring 21, 22 points or whatever and getting 10, 11 assists whatever the case might be. More than comfortable with that. It's just a matter of the pieces that you have around you and what you can do to elevate everybody else."

58. "I never tried to prove anything to someone else. I wanted to prove something to myself."



59. “I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my game, but I also wasn’t willing to sacrifice my family time. So I sacrificed sleep, and that was that.”

60. "The only way I was able to pick up details on the court, to be aware of the minutiae on the hardwood, was by training my mind to do that off the court and focusing on every detail in my daily life. By reading, by paying attention in class and in practice, by working, I strengthened my focus. By doing all of that, I strengthened my ability to be present and not have a wandering mind."

More Kobe quotes: 75 Kobe Bryant Life Quotes About Success, Adversity, Failure & Family >>


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