Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words

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Kobe Bryant may be gone, but his signature “Mamba Mentality” lives on.

Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles on Jan. 26, 2020, at age 41, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others. The NBA star’s death shocked the world, and almost two years later, his legacy continues to grow and inspire.

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“You are responsible for how people remember you,” Bryant said in 2017. “If you do it right, your game will live on in others… So leave everything on the court. Leave the game better than you found it. And when it comes time for you to leave, leave a legend.”

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As we near the second anniversary of Bryant’s death, here are 10 of Bryant’s best quotes: 

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Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
© Mario Tama, Getty Images People wear face coverings while walking by a Kobe Bryant mural by Jonas Never in Grand Central Market on July 19, 2021 in Los Angeles.

On persevering through life, in 2008

 “Have a good time. Enjoy life. 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, smile and just keep on rolling.”

Bryant granted Sean Daniels’ wish to meet him after the teen from Maine lost his arm in a farming accident.

On failure, in 2015

“The story continues. If you fail on Monday, the only way it’s a failure is if you decide to not progress from that. To me, that’s why failure is not existent. If I fail today, I’m going to learn something from that failure. I’m going to try again.”

To Bryant, failure doesn’t exist. Everything is a life lesson and opportunity to learn. 

On self-doubt, in 2015

“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.”

Bryant opened up about people doubting his return to basketball after suffering a devastating Achilles injury in 2013 in the Showtime documentary, “Kobe Bryant’s Muse.”

On fearlessness, in 2016

“The greatest fear that we face is ourselves.”

During a TEDxShanghai talk, Bryant acknowledged that it’s scary to accept a dream and go for it. But, he said fearlessness means going for your dreams for yourself.  

On legacy, in 2016

“Torches never get passed. You’ve got to earn that.” 

Bryant made it clear that Michael Jordan didn’t pass the torch to him. He earned it. Never one to mince words, Bryant told ESPN there was no one on the Los Angeles Lakers team at the time that earned that honor from him. 

Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
© Mark J. Terrill, AP Kobe Bryant

On chasing your dreams, in 2016

“You can’t stop people from trying to limit your dreams, but you can stop it from becoming a reality. Your dreams are up to you. I encourage you to always be curious, always seek out things you love and always work hard once you find it.”

Bryant said a guidance counselor at school told him that he shouldn’t play basketball because “it wouldn’t amount to anything.” Bryant said the counselor’s negativity didn’t quash his aspirations, but added fuel to his fire. (Boy, was that counselor wrong.) 

On hard work paying off, in 2017

“Those times when you stay up late and you work hard; those times when 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, what you’ll see happen is that you won’t accomplish your dreams, your dreams won’t come true, something greater will.”

Bryant directed this message to daughters Natalia, Bianca and Gianna during a rousing speech at his jersey retirement ceremony in December 2017, where both his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys were hung in the Staples Center rafters. (Bryant and wife Vanessa Bryant later welcomed fourth daughter Capri in 2019.)

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On pressure, in 2018

“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.”

Bryant won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2018 for “Dear Basketball.” He used a basketball metaphor to describe his nerves to Jimmy Kimmel.

On championing women’s sports for his daughters, in 2019

“I want to make sure that they’re growing up in a world better than the one we are currently living in.”

Bryant launched the Mamba Sports Academy in 2018, where he hosted workouts for NBA and WNBA players, coached Gianna’s AAU girls’ basketball team and monitored the growth of its training facilities.

Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer's most motivational, memorable words
The Class of 2020 was finally inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Class of 2020 after enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Vanessa Bryant speaks during the induction of the late Kobe Bryant. Vanessa Bryant speaks on behalf of her late husband Kobe Bryant while presenter Michael Jordan looks on. The late Kobe Bryant is honored his enshrinement with the Class of 2020. Vanessa Bryant , wife of the late Kobe Bryant with presenter Michael Jordan, speaks. Tim Duncan speaks during his induction as presenter David Robinson looks on. Kevin Garnett speaks during his induction. Rudy Tomjanovich speaks during his induction. Tamika Catchings speaks during her induction. The late Patrick Baumann is honored during his induction with the Class of 2020. Barbara Stevens during her induction. Natalia Bryant dons her father Kobe’s Hall of Fame jacket with help from her mother Vanessa Bryant. Natalia Bryant dons her father Kobe’s Hall of Fame jacket. Tim Duncan poses with former longtime teammate Tony Parker after donning his Hall of Fame jacket. Kevin Garnett dons his Hall of Fame jacket flanked by his daughters. WNBA legend Tamika Catchings dons her Hall of Fame jacket with an assist from her dad Harvey Catchings. Two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich kisses his daughter after receiving his Hall of Fame jacket. Longtime Division II women’s coach Barbara Stevens dons her Hall of Fame jacket with help from her sisters. Scott and Steve Sutton, sons of the late NCAA coach Eddie Sutton, accept their father’s Hall of Fame jacket. Three-time NCAA champion coach Kim Mulkey puts on her Hall of Fame jacket with help from her daughter, Makenzie Fuller.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kobe Bryant quotes: NBA Hall of Famer’s most motivational, memorable words

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