Man. I haven't been emotionally moved by a basketball game in a long long time. Last night, Kobe Bryant in his very last game went out with a bang. Down 7 points in the 4th quarter, he rails off 17 straight to win the game and finishes with 60 points.
It was beautiful.
Ive always been a Kobe head. Back in 96, when MJ was on his way out, Kobe was 'next' but no one believed me.
'He's too cocky'
Kobe was called all the same things I was, and sometimes am still called today (except for the MJ part lol).
Understand, we are drawn to sports because it is a microcosm of life. Everything that happens in life happens in sport, in a smaller concentrated form. Sport, can give meaning to a seemingly complicated world.
Athletes, through sport remind us about what is possible, impossible, out of reach and within reach. But most importantly, athletes remind us how fluid all those notions really are. On any given night, any given day success can turn, or go.
Kobe was cocky, because he's a student of the game. When you are a historian like he is, you get daunted by the accomplishments of those around you. And at that moment you feel very small and vulnerable. On the battlefield small and vulnerable gets you killed. So a front has to be put on--not because that front is really 'you', but because it's more useful than fear.
Im a student of my game too. I know who's 'who'. I know what they've done, what they continue to do and what they try to do. I make it a point to do so. Many of these people don't know me, but I know them--because I study from afar. The masters know me. Because I study from them. But no one else knows what that relationship is like simply because when a master befriends you there's an unsaid expectation that the lessons bestowed to you carry a responsibility of achievement. There's no 'one ear out the other'. It's, 'You asked, I answered--no go execute the answer before you ask another question'.
That makes you into a quiet person. You realize the futility of words and the power of action because executing the answer is much more difficult than asking the question. Asking, is just the start.
When you emulate the greats, it calms you down. Because you have a tangible example right in front of you, and success is demystified. Once they share their process, you realize there is no magic--only hard work, and obsession. Lesser minds interpret this emulation as fakery, and groupie behaviour. But if your like me, and you know how to ask questions to the right people at the right time, it doesn't matter what other people say.
The only thing that matters is the answer. If you care so much what other people think, then maybe you don't really care about the question as much as you think you do.
Learning from a master is about making new mistakes. Because making old mistakes is tantamount to not learning. Which means you need to really absorb the answer.
You don't have time to listen to the noise produced by irrelevant people.
I'm a huge Kobe fan. But not for the reasons you may think. I'm a huge fan of students obsessed about making good on their masters tutelage, so that one day, the student can taste mastery themselves.
When you see Kobes career, that's what should be seen. A student, who learned from masters, and eventually became one.