Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant signed a two-year $48.5million contract extension on the 25th November 2013 but still believes he is underpaid.
The Black Mamba has been closely followed by Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated as of late, Ballard has spent the week hanging around the LA Lakers and observing the behaviour of Bryant to capture the mindset of a superstar dealing with the twilight years of his career.
Ballard has picked up some fantastic quotes throughout his study, including teammate Steve Nash calling him a "mother-f*****g a*****e" and Bryant completely agreeing.
Kobe and LeBron's worth
Although Ballard did manage to ask Bryant about his opinion on his and LeBron James' current wage and valuation in the NBA, the shooting guard responded in typically 'Mamba' fashion and wasn't afraid to express his belief that both players are vastly underpaid
Bryant's has told close friends that he thinks LeBron would be worth around $75million on the open market.
He believes it is important to demonstrate to younger players who are making their way in the NBA that you should never settle for less money than you believe you are worth.
Bryant was quoted as saying: “If you’re talking just from a business perspective, yeah, Because the NBA is a obviously a big business and teams generate a lot of revenue, and even more because of the new contracts they have in place since the last lockout.”
When he first signed his new contract extension with the Lakers back in 2013, Bryant took to Twitter immediately to justify his decision to take an incredible amount of money and he is clearly evaluating his future with a business acumen mindset.
Ballard took a specific interest in Kobe's opinion on the money he was receiving but another vital component is the mind frame of the 36-year-old is the confidence he has in his own ability as he reaches the latter stages of his career.
What took Bryant to superstardom and greatness in the league was his extreme confidence to dominate the hardwood.
He has recently admitted to looking to an old rival in Paul Pierce to adjust to the NBA whilst growing older, he wants to become more efficient on the court but the 'Black Mamba' will never lose his confidence.
Gotham Chopra, the director of “Kobe Bryant’s Muse”, explains a story of Bryant being asked about Deron Williams, current point guard of the Brooklyn Nets, once going 0-9 field goals in an NBA game.
Kobe would respond: "I would go 0-30 before I would go 0-9. 0-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game, because Deron Williams can get more shots in the game. The only reason is because you’ve just now lost confidence in yourself."
The mental toughness that he has always showed is very much part of what makes him one of the greatest basketball players of all time.