“We would always talk about how he prepared to make his music, how he prepared for concerts. He would teach me what he did: How to make a ‘Thriller’ album, a ‘Bad’ album, all the details that went into it. It was all the validation that I needed – to know that I had to focus on my craft and never waver.” – Kobe on Michael Jackson
If you haven’t had the chance to check out the piece on Kobe Bryant written by Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski do it. There are a number of quotes that can be pulled from this piece but my focus is only on a few:
“Michael wasn’t Michael until he won championships,” Bryant said. “It’s as simple as that.”
That’s really it. In the chase to crown a new King, we seem to have forgotten the key piece of criteria that authentically puts our young NBA Princes in that conversation. No matter how many endorsement deals, “specials” and angry owners are your present, if there are no championships in your past, you have all the physical gifts but the reality is, you are still a contender.
“Part of the pride within me was that I won by being the sidekick. I’m going to be the only player in league history that’s won being a sidekick – and I had a lot of responsibility – going to be the only player to do that, and being the main guy. I’m going to show you that I can do that.”
No two championships are won the same way. But Kobe’s point is valid. Up until this point, there’s no other player that’s moved from sidekick to main attraction with a completely new team and won. You wanted something Kobe’s accomplished that’s not Michael Jordan-esque but still inspiring, there you have it.
Don’t get me wrong, the other MJ stuff (Michael Jackson) is equally fascinating in some ways more so than the regurgitated “Jordan Legacy” discussion. However for just a moment, I wanted the focus to be completely on the hardwood.