Kobe Bryant was a legendary basketball player, completing 20 seasons in the NBA and winning five NBA world championships with the Los Angeles Lakers before his retirement in 2016.
The inspirational Kobe Bryant quotes about life and hard work below prove he was incredibly motivated and worked tirelessly every day to become a success.
Known to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he often went by his self-given nickname “Black Mamba” on the court, which, to him, reminded him of who he wanted to be when he stepped into each game. In a 2015 interview with Ahmad Rashad, Bryant explained, “When I step on that court, I become [Black Mamba]. I am that killer snake. I’m stone-cold, man.”
Sadly, on the morning of January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant — along with his 13-year old daughter Gianna (Gigi) and seven other victims — lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
As of last year, Orange County officially established August, 24 as Kobe Bryant Day.
The date was chosen for to the numbers on Bryant’s jerseys, 8 and 24. It is also the day after the late basketball legend’s birthday, August 23.
Kobe Bryant was born with a love and passion for sports — especially basketball.
His father, Joe Bryant, had his own success in the NBA until 1983 and continued to coach professional basketball ever since, so Kobe Bryant started learning the sport when he was just three years old.
After playing soccer for most of his childhood in Italy, he fully embraced the game of basketball when he moved back to the United States during his high school years — he soon earned national recognition, becoming the second youngest NBA player in history as he joined the Los Angeles Lakers.
Often compared to the likes of Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant got the chance to prove his talents through his 20-season career with the Lakers, earning the title of Most Valuable Player in the NBA in 2008, becoming an 18-time NBA All-Star, and a member of the All-NBA Team 15 times.
Bryant raised four daughters with his wife, Vanessa — 17-year-old Natalia Diamante, 13-year-old Gianna Maria-Onore, 3-year-old Bianka Bella, and Capri Kobe Bryant, who was born in June 2019.
Over his career, Kobe Bryant gave advice to his fans and talked about the best ways to overcome fears and achieve success.
In remembrance of one of the greatest basketball players of all time, look through our collection of famous sayings and quotes from the Black Mamba himself.
66 Best Kobe Bryant Quotes About Life, Hard Work, and Facing Challenges Head-On
1. “Everything negative — pressure, challenges — is all an opportunity for me to rise.” — Kobe Bryant
Photo credit: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com
2. “Dedication sees dreams come true.” — Kobe Bryant
3. “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.” — Kobe Bryant
4. “I’ve shot too much from the time I was 8 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.” — Kobe Bryant
5. “Be sad. Be mad. Be frustrated. Scream. Cry. Sulk. When you wake up you will think it was just a nightmare only to realize it’s all too real. You will be angry and wish for the day back, the game back THAT play back. But reality gives nothing back and nor should you.” — Kobe Bryant
6. “Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses.” — Kobe Bryant
7. “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.” — Kobe Bryant
8. “Have a good time. Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, smile and just keep on rolling.” — Kobe Bryant
9. “Love that kids are building confidence on and off the court and unlocking their potential through sport.” — Kobe Bryant
10. “When we are saying this cannot be accomplished, this cannot be done, then we are short-changing ourselves. My brain, it cannot process failure. It will not process failure. Because if I have to sit there and face myself and tell myself ‘you are a failure,’ I think that is almost worse than dying.” — Kobe Bryant
11. “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.” — Kobe Bryant
12. “The important thing is that your teammates have to know you’re pulling for them and you really want them to be successful.” — Kobe Bryant
13. “When you make a choice and say, ‘Come hell or high water, I am going to be this,’ then you should not be surprised when you are that. It should not be something that is intoxicating or out of character because you have seen this moment for so long that … when that moment comes, of course it is here because it has been here the whole time, because it has been [in your mind] the whole time.” — Kobe Bryant
14. “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.” — Kobe Bryant
15. “Once you know what failure feels like, determination chases success.” — Kobe Bryant
16. “I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.” — Kobe Bryant
17. “The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do.” — Kobe Bryant
18. “The moment you give up, is the moment you let someone else win” — Kobe Bryant
19. “My parents are my backbone. Still are. They’re the only group that will support you if you score zero or you score 40.” — Kobe Bryant
20. “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.” — Kobe Bryant
21. “The last time I was intimidated was when I was 6 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 ass. But then I realized he didn’t kick my ass as bad as I thought he was going to and that there was nothing really to be afraid of. That was around the time I realized that intimidation didn’t really exist if you’re in the right frame of mind.” — Kobe Bryant
22. “The beauty of coaching is growing the players from the ground up. That journey continues.” — Kobe Bryant
23. “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.” — Kobe Bryant
24. “These young guys are playing checkers. I’m out there playing chess.” — Kobe Bryant
25. “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.” — Kobe Bryant
26. “Winning takes precedence overall. There’s no gray area. No almosts.” — Kobe Bryant
27. “This is the moment I accept the most challenging times will always be behind me and in front of me.” — Kobe Bryant
28. “I’m reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward. I reflect with a purpose.” — Kobe Bryant
29. “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.” — Kobe Bryant
30. “You are like fine wine baby ti amo per sempre.” — Kobe Bryant
31. “The beauty in being blessed with talent is rising above doubters to create a beautiful moment.” — Kobe Bryant
32. “If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re probably going to fail.” — Kobe Bryant
33. “A lot of leaders fail because they don’t have the bravery to touch that nerve or strike that chord.” — Kobe Bryant
34. “Leadership is lonely … I’m not going to be afraid of confrontation to get us to where we need to go.” — Kobe Bryant
35. “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.” — Kobe Bryant
36. “Pain doesn’t tell you when you ought to stop. Pain is the little voice in your head that tries to hold you back because it knows if you continue you will change.” — Kobe Bryant
37. “The most important thing is you must put everybody on notice that you’re here and you are for real.” — Kobe Bryant
38. “Use your success, wealth, and influence to put them in the best position to realize their own dreams and find their true purpose.” — Kobe Bryant
39. “There’s a big misconception where people thinking winning or success comes from everybody putting their arms around each other and singing kumbaya and patting them on the back when they mess up, and that’s just not reality. If you are going to be a leader, you are not going to please everybody. You have to hold people accountable. Even if you have that moment of being uncomfortable.” — Kobe Bryant
40. “We can always kind of be average and do what’s normal. I’m not in this to do what’s normal.” — Kobe Bryant
41. “Trust me, setting things up right from the beginning will avoid a ton of tears and heartache…” — Kobe Bryant
42. “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.” — Kobe Bryant
43. “Not even in my dreams. That was something that just happened. It’s tough to explain. It’s just one of those things.” — Kobe Bryant
44. “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.” — Kobe Bryant
45. “I got one more than Shaq. So you can take that to the bank.” — Kobe Bryant
46. “When I have the chance to guard Michael Jordan, I want to guard him. I want him. It’s the ultimate challenge.” — Kobe Bryant
47. “Haters are a good problem to have. Nobody hates the good ones. They hate the great ones.” — Kobe Bryant
48. “There’s nothing truly to be afraid of, when you think about it … Because I’ve failed before, and I woke up the next morning, and I’m OK. 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?” — Kobe Bryant
49. “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.” — Kobe Bryant
50. “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.” — Kobe Bryant
51. “A lot of people say they want to be great, but they’re not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve greatness.” — Kobe Bryant
52. “We psyche 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.” — Kobe Bryant
53. “Losing is losing, there aren’t different degrees of losing. You either win a championship or you’re sh–. It’s very black & white to me.” — Kobe Bryant
54. “The Black Mamba collection of watches is me: It is my alter ego, so to speak. As I mentioned before, it is sharp, cutting edge and sleek which are characteristics I try to apply when I’m out there on the basketball court.” — Kobe Bryant
55. “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.” — Kobe Bryant
56. “It’s hard for me to grasp the concept of somebody being nervous when I’m talking to them.” — Kobe Bryant
57. “After all, greatness is not for everybody.” — Kobe Bryant
58. “The message was that if you want to win championships, you have to let people focus on what they do best while you focus on what you do best. For me, that was rebounding, running the floor, and blocking shots.” — Kobe Bryant
59. “If I wanted to play, I’d still be playing for the Lakers. The health thing I could’ve figured out…I just don’t want to play anymore.” — Kobe Bryant
60. “May you always remember to enjoy the road, especially when it’s a hard one.” — Kobe Bryant
61. “You guys know how I am. I don’t forget anything.” — Kobe Bryant
62. “If you do not believe in yourself no one will do it for you.” — Kobe Bryant
63. “From the beginning, I wanted to be the best. I had a constant craving, a yearning, to improve and be the best.” — Kobe Bryant
64. “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.” — Kobe Bryant
65. “I never needed any external forces to motivate me.” — Kobe Bryant
66. “I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.” — Kobe Bryant
Kayla Cavanagh is an editor and writer who covers pop culture, quotes, love, relationships and trending topics.