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Mindset Breakdown: Kobe Bryant’s “Dear Basketball”


In the final days of Kobe Bryant’s professional basketball career, The Players’ Tribune published Kobe’s last thoughts of the game in a form of a poem.

One that would ajar everything he committed his whole life to be, and embrace the overall feelings of where it’s taken him.

In this blog, we breakdown the poem, Kobe’s career & mindset, and equate it to be translatable to anyone’s hustle and love for their game.


Dear Basketball,


From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
Game-winning shots
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love with you.

A love so deep I gave you my all —
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.

As a six-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one.

And so I ran.
I ran up and down every court
After every loose ball for you.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.

I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.
I did everything for YOU
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you’ve made me feel.

You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

And that’s OK.
I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have. 

And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1

Love you always,


In the opening and closing statements, Kobe Bryant defines with vivid imagery a kid who grows up to live a dream from the moments he knew he had a passion for basketball.

He describes the game as something that’s brought him life and a strong sense of purpose.

This is something many can relate to like when we first try a new sport or hobby and it brings out our curious creative selves who constantly seek for more.

Kobe’s career has been anything but one smooth ride to triumph, and for those who’s been true loyal fans watching his games since he’s entered the NBA, it’s easy to see and relate with him at that deeper level of what truly having a passion for something can unlock within us and means.

There is no doubt that he’s become among the (if not, thee) best in the league and globally iconic. And it started out simply from his drive from which only someone can tap into if there was a true love for something.

And as we speak of love, Kobe brings character to basketball in his poem, described as something he’ll do anything for. As someone would for a loved one or child.


Kobe Bryant is one of Today’s biggest icons for a reason, and one of the greatest testimonies of what happens to anyone who commits fully to their passion.

There is no secret to his success nor the achievements he’s amounted to. The results of obsessively seeking perfection, and truly loving the game.

His career and poem teaches us the true meaning of “Ball is Life,” and that at the purest form of anything we love doing, it will always translate between both real life lessons and the passion itself. This intense and deep understanding is applicable globally and in all languages.

But there is only one last thing certain that we haven’t mentioned yet - the discipline, persistence, perseverance, commitment and dedication it all takes for someone to overcome the obstacles it takes to reach that level of awareness and success.

So if you are living a life of uncertainty or struggle, remember to always fall back at your passions and let that teach you the deeper meanings of life for you, and eventually it will help redefine the best version of you.

And even if you’re not and living the best days of your life, remember your passions are will keep it lit and fueled up for the next venture.

But whatever you do.. NEVER forget nor neglect the things your heart and soul are gravitating to. A true key to a happy and purpose driven life.

SOURCES: The Players Tribune

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