Kobe Bryant Tells 17-Year-Old-Self To Keep Family and Money Separate

One of the most difficult things for professional athletes to learn is the power of the word “no.” Often times, the people that they will have to use that word with most frequently can be family members.

Kobe Bryant recently penned a letter to his 17-year-old-self in The Player’s Tribune. In it he shared some of the challenges that would be waiting once he joined the NBA. One thing Kobe mentioned stuck out, keep your parents as “parents” not managers:

The next time I write to you, I may touch on the challenges of mixing blood with business. The most important advice I can give to you is to make sure your parents remain PARENTS and not managers.

Before you sign that first contract, figure out the right budget for your parents — one that will allow them to live beautifully while also growing your business and setting people up for long-term success. That way, your children’s kids and their kids will be able to invest in their own futures when the time comes.

The theme of Kobe’s essay is how to invest in family and not “give.” Kobe and his parents are estranged. Issues with his family shadowed the last 15 years of his career. His parents were not at his final game with the Lakers last April.

This same topic is one that’s covered in chapter 14, Sign your own checks of PostGame Pass: access into “the life.” Kobe says he wished that instead of material things, he helped his family realize their own dreams. That by just handing over material items, it takes away some drive and can actually stunt friends and family’s growth.

I’m writing you now so that you can begin this process immediately, and so that you don’t have to deal with the hurt and struggle of weaning them off of the addiction that you facilitated. That addiction only leads to anger, resentment and jealousy from everybody involved, including yourself.