Kobe wants MJ or Phil for HOF induction
In a mere four years, former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant will be eligible for enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Given the accolades, championships and accomplishments Bryant garnered during his career — as well as his overall impact on the NBA and basketball at large — his entry is looking more than solid.
Of course, before one gets to that grand stage in Springfield, Mass., to reflect on their career, they have to be presented by a current Hall of Famer. And in the case of Bryant, there are only two names on his list who would get that honor.
OK, last question. You’re going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame someday. What might that look like to you? Who might present you? What will you say?
Wow, that’s a great question. In terms of who might present, for me it’s two people: Michael Jordan or Phil Jackson. They’ve been the greatest mentors, not only in my career as an athlete, but also as a person. And what I might say is just a lot of thank yous. ‘Cause I’ve had a lotta help along the way. A lotta lotta help.
In addition to that burning question, Kobe also discussed the varied group of ventures he has taken up since retiring after the 2015-16 season:
Today you’re thousands of miles away from home. Do you think you are mentally as well after retiring, or is there a new persona that you’ll be creating in this next chapter of your life?
I wouldn’t say it’s a new persona, but it’s the persona that’s been off the court this whole time. When I step on the court I become that “thing” but outside the court, here I am every single day now just trying to instill certain things that I’ve learned throughout my career that I’m trying to teach to the next generation. That’s become the passion.
You’ve been pursuing creative outlets yourself. What do you want your stamp to be on storytelling?
I think it’s about the emotional arcs that the characters create. Trying to find what is the common thread that bridges generations? And a lot of it I pull from my own personal narrative. A lot of the stories deal with ambition and the sacrifice that comes with ambition. And not just the glory of it all, but also some of the distraction and how you come to terms with that. How you try to find balance in a life where you have these goals. But to get to those goals you have to sacrifice something you hold dear. How do you find balance? Can you find balance in that? A lot of the stories deal with that.
You first started Kobe, Inc. and then Bryant Stibel where you have endeavors in media, gaming, technology—everything but basketball. How has that been playing in what seems like a very diversified group of things now?
It’s been really difficult to be honest with you because what I struggle with is monetizing what was. The brand that I built. Versus focusing on what was off the court. What I decided to do was be brave. The things that I built with Nike, now, will continue to go forth for the next generation. But outside of that, I’m building a studio, I’m building stories. And then with Bryant Stibel, it was how about how do you manage your money smartly? How can I teach athletes how to build value? And not just simply obtain liquidity. Which we all know, if you don’t have the income coming in year over year, eventually it will run out and that’s when you hear all the horror stories. So how can I set a standard for athletes to understand real value.
It’s amazing to see this other side of you. You’ve got the left and right brains now with creative and investment.
Ha, yeah. Well the other thing is just working with good people. You can pick up on the energy of the person. You can know what that looks like and if they’ll take good care of things. It’s fun. I’m having the time of my life.