The Batas Sportiva Team is extremely saddened and affected by the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi. When we decided to write this little tribute post, we didn’t know what it would end up like or if it would even make sense. What does Kobe have to do with young lawyers, right? But we had to do something to honor him and say thanks. So, we wrote.
When we read each other’s tributes, we were all pleasantly surprised and heartened to see that he had affected—and still affects—us in different ways and in different points of our lives. And as Pancho noticed, one thing stuck out—we didn’t talk about his accomplishments, but his work ethic. If we learned one thing from Kobe, it was to embrace the grind. The grind is the dream.
We offer our prayers and condolences to the Bryant family, the Altobelli family, the Mauser family, the Chester family, and the Zobayan family.
Our individual tributes are below.
You taught me that. In your podcast interview with Jay Shetty, you said the self-negotiation is the most dangerous thing. You make a contract with yourself, you do it. No excuses. That hit me deep. I think about that every single day.
When I’m sleepy but I have to get up early to do some work, I tell myself, “no self-negotiation.” You know all about getting the work in while the world sleeps. That’s the dream, right?
When I’m tired but I promised myself to learn a language, I tell myself, “no self-negotiation.” You spoke a gazillion languages. That’s amazing.
When age hits, my body hurts, but I have to do one more set or one last lap, I tell myself “no self-negotiation.” You did the same thing over and over again. Free throws on a torn Achilles, swish swish. Sixty on the last game of your 20th season, bang.
When I want to quit writing, I tell myself “no self-negotiation.” You know the challenges and the self-doubt, you’re a writer and an athlete. I loved that about you.
When I find myself overwhelmed trying to hit landmarks in my chosen field of law, I tell myself “no self-negotiation.” Man, I would’ve loved to have talked to you about that.
Constant work. Day in. Day out. No self-negotiation. That’s the Mamba way.
So, when I woke up to the tragic news, it shook me. I grieved like everyone else. I mourned with everyone else. I just wanted to stay home and do nothing, just like everyone else.
But then I did some work. I did my language drills. I finished my work out. I wrote. I did some sports law work.
It wasn’t easy. But like you said, “no self-negotiation.”
That’s the best I can do to honor you. You taught me that.
This hurts more than it should. I still think it’s a bit ridiculous how much this affects me, but I guess a lot of people share the same sentiment. I wasn’t even the biggest fan.
He was a symbol for me. He was a veritable representation of the mindset we should all have in trying to achieve whatever we wanted to attain. It doesn’t matter what your obstacles are or what your pains and sufferings are, all that matters in the end is that you are measured by your success. Success that is not defined by whether you win or lose, but rather, how much of yourself you’ve given in the process of competing. We all lose and win at some point, but what we can control is how we attack the journey.
Kobe, more than the basketball player and the person, is an idea personified. I suppose this hurts as much as it does because with him gone I felt like the physical representation of this idea, something that we all (knowingly or unknowingly) relied on in times of adversity, went with him. I know that’s not true, but right now it sure feels like it.
I still remember your first commercial with Nike – “Love Me or Hate Me” . To this day, your words still resonate with me and I would like to share your wisdom with everyone:
When asked why Kobe no longer attends Lakers games, he answered:
“I have a life and I have my routine at home. It’s not that I don’t want to go, but I’d rather be giving BB (his daughter) a shower and sing Barney songs to her. I played 20 years and I missed those moments before. For me to make the trip up to Staples Center, that means I’m missing home an opportunity to spend another night with my kids when I know how fast it goes. I want to make sure the days that I’m away from them are days that I absolutely have to be. I’d rather be with them than doing anything else.”
Kobe’s words and his recent passing really hit home. He brought #MambaMentality where it matters the most — family.
This is to honor Kobe not only as a legendary athlete, but as a great father. Indeed, as Kobe taught us, the biggest blessing in life is being able to come home to your loved ones.
Growing up, you were a staple at our home because my family and I would always be glued to the TV screens watching your games. I didn’t understand much about life back then, but I watched you intently so I could learn.
You played with so much passion and it showed. It always made me wonder how. Finally, during your double-number-retirement ceremony you shared the secret: “Those times when you get up early and you work hard… Those times you stay up late and you work hard. Those times when you don’t feel like working. You’re too tired. You don’t want to push yourself, but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream.”
You used your love for basketball—throughout the wins, losses, in-between, and beyond—to be a better person every day. And you were relentless in your pursuit.
You showed me that there was absolutely no substitute for hard work. You were my Bar mantra (“Remember the dream. Embrace the challenge.”) personified.
My entire approach and execution for Bar Review and the Bar was Mamba-esque to a tee! In 2019, my goal was to be my best self to all 4 Sundays of the Bar (and beyond). I wanted my journey to attorney to be beyond attorney, just as you were beyond basketball.
So I broke it down in detail.
In the months leading up to NovemBAR, I stuck to a very structured routine. But I wasn’t just reading the materials I needed to; I called my lawyer friends to ask about certain topics, worked even more on my handwriting, practiced my test-taking skills, honed the mind-body connection, worked out and went to mass regularly, strengthened my faith, and nourished my entire being until the law was second-nature to me.
I did that day in and day out, but most especially when it was challenging.
No one ever says this about the Bar exams, but I’ll say it: Come game time, I had the biggest smile on my face and enjoyed taking the exams. I was extremely happy and fulfilled knowing that I wrote my heart out on each line and page of every single one of those bluebooks.
And even though I don’t know the results yet, I continue to work on making the journey even more fulfilling than it’s already been.
You taught me that and no doubt it’s going to live on.
Thank you, Kobe!! 24 Forever.