Kobe Bryant: 11 of his most inspiring quotes on life and basketball

  • Kobe Tong

News of Kobe Bryant's passing on Sunday continues to bring sadness to all those who loved and adored him.

The LA Lakers legend and his daughter, Gianna, were tragically killed along with seven others in a helicopter crash in California.

Sporting icons such as Michael Jordan, Cristiano Ronaldo and Tiger Woods have all paid tribute to the late 41-year-old and some of his greatest moments are being shared across social media.

It is, after all, as much a time to celebrate Bryant's legacy in life and sport as much as it is to mourn his passing.

And in the wake of the tragic news, those who looked up to Bryant have shared some of his most inspiring quotes to show what the double-Olympic champion meant to them.

Inspiring Kobe Bryant quotes

There can be no questioning that Bryant's dedication to his craft made him a brilliant role model as well as his work away from the court and campaigning for women's sport.

As a result, we've decided to raise a glass to Bryant's legacy by looking through 11 of his most inspiring quotes to celebrate everything he stood for across his 41 years on the Earth.

1. On life itself

“Have a good time. 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.”

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers

2. On achieving success

"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."

NBA Finals Game 5:  Los Angeles Lakers v Orlando Magic

3. On going straight from school to the NBA

"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."

Kobe Bryant

4. On being criticised for his style of play

"I’ve shot too much from the time I was 8 years old. But ‘too much’ is a matter of perspective. Some people thought Mozart had too many notes in his compositions.

"Let me put it this way: I entertain people who say I shoot too much. I find it very interesting. Going back to Mozart, he responded to critics by saying there were neither too many notes or too few. There were as many as necessary.”

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers

5. On comparisons to Michael Jordan

“When I have the chance to guard Michael Jordan, I want to guard him. I want him. It’s the ultimate challenge. I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.”

Michael Jordan (L) of the Washington Wizards and K

6. On striving for greatness

“There’s a choice that we have to make as people, as individuals. If you want to be great at something, there’s a choice you have to make.

"We all can 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 friends, being a great friend, being a great son, nephew, whatever the case may be. There are sacrifices that come along with making that decision.”


7. On coming back from injuries

"The process of it [drives me to come back]. I want to see if I can. I don't know if I can. I want to find out. I want to see. I'm going to do what I always do: I'm going to break it down to its smallest form, smallest detail, and go after it. Day by day, one day at a time."

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets

8. On winning

"I'll do whatever it takes to win games, whether it's sitting on a bench waving a towel, handing a cup of water to a teammate, or hitting the game-winning shot."

MVP Kobe Bryant (R) of the Los Angeles L

9. On failure

"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're a failure,' I think that is a worse, that is almost worse than death."

NBA Finals Game 5: Lakers v Pistons

10. On being a leader

"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."

Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat

11. On teamwork

"The important thing is that your teammates have to know you're pulling for them and you really want them to be successful."


A man is never a measure of how many t-shirt-worthy quotes he delivers, but let all these nuggets of wisdom serve as the ultimate proof that Bryant's legacy will live long beyond the man himself.

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