Kobe Bryant's Life and Legacy: 14 Mamba Mentality Quotes to Live By

Kobe Bryant continues to be a source of inspiration for fans after his death with his "Mamba mentality," a mantra for the competitive spirit, including non-athletes. As the NBA icon said best: "Hard work outweighs talent — every time."

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Kobe Bryant and Gianna
Gianna and Kobe Bryant.

"You don't want to jump into something if you're not passionate about it."

—to CNBC in August 2016

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Kobe Bryant
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty

"Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, smiles and just keep on rolling."

—to CBS in June 2008

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Kobe tributes
John Shearer/Getty

"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."

—in his February 2015 interview for Showtime's Muse

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Kobe Bryant
Allen Berezovsky/Getty

"Those times when you get up early and you work hard, those times when 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. That's the dream. It's not the destination, it's the journey. And if you guys can understand that, then what you'll see happen is you won't accomplish your dreams, your dreams won't come true; something greater will."

—in his 2017 number retirement speech

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Kobe Bryant
Jon SooHoo/NBAE/Getty

"We psyche ourselves up too much. Like if you try to talk yourself into, 'Oh, this is a big moment, this is a big shot,' you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself. You shot that shot hundreds and thousands of times. Just shoot another one."

—during a 2018 Jimmy Kimmel Live appearance

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Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant. Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty

"I've practiced and practiced and played so many times. There's nothing truly to be afraid of, when you think about it. ... I've failed before, and I woke up the next morning, and I'm OK."

—to ESPN in November 2014

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Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

"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."

—in his February 2015 interview for Showtime's Muse

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Kobe Bryant
Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/Getty

"Be sad. Be mad. Be frustrated. Scream. Cry. Sulk. When you wake up you will think it was just a nightmare only to realize it's all too real. You will be angry and wish for the day back, the game back, THAT play back. But reality gives nothing back and nor should you."

—on Instagram in September 2017

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Kobe Bryant
Allen Berezovsky/Getty

"There's a choice that we have to make as people, as individuals. If you want to be great at something there is a choice you have to make. We can all be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice. What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that — family time, hanging out with your friends, being a great friend. being a great son, nephew, whatever the case may be. There are sacrifices that come along with that."

—in his February 2015 interview for Showtime's Muse

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Kobe Bryant
Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

"I never looked at [basketball] as work. I didn't realize it was work until my first year in the NBA. When I came around, I was surrounded by other professionals and I thought basketball was going to be everything to them and it wasn't. And I was like, 'This is different.' I thought everybody was so obsessive about the game like me. It was like, no? Oh, that's hard work. I get it now."

—to ESPN in November 2014

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Kobe Bryant
Jae C. Hong/AP

"Leadership is lonely... I'm not going to be afraid of confrontation to get us to where we need to go. There's a big misconception where people thinking winning or success comes from everybody putting their arms around each other and singing kumbaya and patting them on the back when they mess up, and that's just not reality. If you are going to be a leader, you are not going to please everybody. You have to hold people accountable. Even if you have that moment of being uncomfortable."

—to NBA TV in February 2015

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Kobe Bryant
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

"The last time I was intimidated was when I was 6 years old in karate class. I was an orange belt and the instructor ordered me to fight a black belt who was a couple years older and a lot bigger. I was scared s---less. I mean, I was terrified and he kicked my ass. But then I realized he didn't kick my ass as bad as I thought he was going to and that there was nothing really to be afraid of. That was around the time I realized that intimidation didn't really exist if you're in the right frame of mind."

—to ESPN in January 2013

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Kobe Bryant
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty

"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."

—to 247sports.com

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Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant in March 2007. Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

"When we are saying this cannot be accomplished, this cannot be done, then we are short-changing ourselves. 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."

—in his 2015 documentary Muse

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