Kobe Bryant’s recent passing is a shock. But for people who admire him, the life he lived is what defines him. His dedication to basketball and his resolve to win reflected his unyielding determination. Read these 30 Kobe Bryant quotes to celebrate his victories both in life and beyond.
Kobe Bryant was born on August 23, 1978. The son of former NBA player Joe Bryant, he was drafted directly out of high school. As a rookie, he instantly earned attention as a high-flyer after winning the Slam Dunk contest in 1997. By his second season, he was already named an All-Star.
His 20-season basketball career was played in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers. He won five NBA championships and was named Most Valuable Player in 2008. The first guard to play at least 20 seasons in the history of the NBA, Bryant is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
After he led the Lakers to two consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010, he received the Finals MVP Award on both events. At the age of 34, the Lakers star became the youngest player to reach 30,000 points. At the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, he won two gold medals as a member of the US national team.
He continued to be one of the best players through 2013 until injuries proved to be serious, slowing him down. As a result, Bryant announced his retirement after the 2015-2016 season. Kobe Bryant also ventured into film-making.
In 2018, he won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his short film Dear Basketball. This marked the first Oscar win for any professional athlete. On January 26, 2020, Bryant died in a tragic helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter. He was 41.
Remember the NBA icon and his awe-inspiring greatness with these 30 Kobe Bryant quotes.
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
The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do. – Kobe Bryant
Winning takes precedence over all. There’s no gray area. No almosts. – Kobe Bryant
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
Everything negative — pressure, challenges — is all an opportunity for me to rise. – Kobe Bryant
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
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
I like playing for the purple and gold. This is where I want to finish up. – Kobe Bryant
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
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
The moment you give up, is the moment you let someone else win. – Kobe Bryant
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
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
When we are saying this cannot be accomplished, this cannot be done, then we are short-changing ourselves. – Kobe Bryant
The topic of leadership is a touchy one. A lot of leaders fail because they don’t have the bravery to touch that nerve or strike that chord. Throughout my years, I haven’t had that fear. – Kobe Bryant
I have nothing in common with lazy people who blame others for their lack of success. Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses. – Kobe Bryant
I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant. – Kobe Bryant
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
What people see on court is another side of me; it’s not me. – Kobe Bryant
These young guys are playing checkers. I’m out there playing chess. – Kobe Bryant
I focus on one thing and one thing only – that’s trying to win as many championships as I can. – Kobe Bryant
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. – Kobe Bryant
I’m reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward. I reflect with a purpose. – Kobe Bryant
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
In an individual sport, yes, you have to win titles. Baseball’s different. But basketball, hockey? One person can control the tempo of a game, can completely alter the momentum of a series. There’s a lot of great individual talent. – Kobe Bryant
Once you know what failure feels like, determination chases success. – Kobe Bryant
It’s disgusting, but my father taught me when your mouth gets dry, just suck the sweat out of your own jersey. There’s no bravado to any of it; it’s just a disgusting little trick. – Kobe Bryant
I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. No matter what the injury — unless it’s completely debilitating — I’m going to be the same player I’ve always been. I’ll figure it out. I’ll make some tweaks, some changes, but I’m still coming. – Kobe Bryant
You want me to own a team and deal with these rich, spoiled stubborn athletes, and try to get them to perform? No thank you. – Kobe Bryant
One thing you gotta know about me is I have absolutely no filter. I have no problem saying what the hell I think of someone. – Kobe Bryant
Share these 30 Kobe Bryant quotes to commemorate the athlete’s remarkable milestones.