A real ball-in-hand destruction machine, Kobe Bryant always left feelings aside when he landed on an NBA floor. A characteristic that he already displayed very young, when he had a blacklist of 56 players to defeat!
Since his disappearance on January 26, 2020, the testimonies concerning him are almost all dithyrambic. Kobe Bryant finds himself often described as a role model for basketball players, and as an excellent mentor to the new generation. However, his attitude on the field was far from coinciding with that displayed by many current stars of the NBA.
If he had good relations with some of his peers, the mythical rear of the Lakers always tried to forget them for the time of a match, and to crush anyone who stood in front of him. A mentality that has earned him his success in the league, but also his reputation as an orange ball psychopath. We must also believe that he was predestined to obtain this label from his adolescence.
The 56 names Kobe wanted off his ‘blacklist’
Raised the hard way by his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, Kobe was quick to develop an immense rage for winning in his youth. According to his own admission, this was already expressed before he even landed on the high school circuit. In an interview granted in 2019 to Patrick Bet-David, the Black Mamba thus revealed that it had long sought… to destroy the prospects classified in front of it by the scouts:
At 13, I had a blacklist. You know, at the time, there were already rankings, and I had looked at the one from Street & Smith. I was nowhere, because I was, like, 1.93m, all emaciated, and I weighed maybe 70 kilos all wet. All this made me 57th on this list.
A ranking that seems unlikely today, but which partly allowed Kobe to explode.
Indeed, instead of being defeated by his position in this ranking, Bean used it as a source of motivation, and as a good way to know how to climb in the hierarchy:
I looked at the players who were in 56th place, 55th, all that up to 1st place. I looked at their names and what teams they played on. And once I was on the AAU circuit, I was chasing them, you know? It became my mission in high school. I had to check off each of these 56 names. I had to hunt them down, kill them. It was like that.
We must believe that his mission went rather well, since his exploits as a high school student allowed him to be selected in 13th position in the 1996 Draft. His predecessors in this famous list cannot say the same!
An inveterate competitor, Kobe Bryant saw this gene express itself from the age of 13, after appearing a little too far for his taste in a ranking. One story among many others that perfectly illustrates the famous Mamba Mentality!