Everyone talks about the late Kobe Bryant’s mentality. Bryant was determined, focused and didn’t believe in accepting excuses for failure but used failure to learn. Bryant liked to challenge and make people uncomfortable. He used those skills to force others to soul search and improve.
But Bryant was the 2.0 version of the Mamba Mentality. He had a brother in the NBA, and I am not referring to the guys on his former Lakers team. I am not even referring to the other players within the NBA–current or former. I’m speaking of someone who personally considered Bryant a brother. I’m speaking of Michael Jordan. In many ways, it appears especially having watched The Last Dance that Jordan is the originator of the Mamba Mentality.
Source: Access Hollywood
In full disclosure, I have never been a Michael Jordan fan. I always felt that Jordan was given too much credit for the Chicago Bulls’ success in those days. It, also, might be that I was a bit jealous as a diehard Bad Boys fan who believed, at the time, you could only be loyal to one team. While now cheering for multiple teams in various leagues and having outgrown such a limited mentality, I have come to appreciate the mentality that made Jordan great.
In the second episode of The Last Dance in referring to his passion for basketball and competitiveness, Jordan had this to say:
“At the time you had racism all over North Carolina, all over the United States, and there was alot of it around there, so as a kid it was like this is who I don’t want to be. I want to excel outside of this. So my motivation was to be something outside of Wilmington. For me, it became athletics.”
I think Wilmington helped push Jordan forward. It instilled within a passion to push pass the marks others set for themselves on the basketball court. For most players keeping focused is an issue. Life’s issues and pressures can misguide them into taking shortcuts or not giving each practice 100% of their time and effort. That lack of focus hurts his performance on the court but not for Michael Jordan.
Jordan eliminated distractions. When his team was partying with girls, drugs and alcohol, Jordan kept to himself. He had the bigger picture in mind. When Scottie Pippen was M.I.A. from the team due to injury, Jordan didn’t let the Chicago Bulls poor beginning of the season deter him. He put the pressure on himself, ripped his teammates–not caring what they thought, and performed. He gave everything he had of himself. He drained himself–mentally and physically.
That’s the Mamba Mentality. That’s passion. 99% of people don’t have that mentality. They are not going to give it 250%. Like Michael Jordan said “some want it to happen, some wish it to happen, others make it happen.” And like his little brother Kobe, Michael Jordan made it happen.
The final episodes (9 &10) of the documentary on Michael Jordan, The Last Dance, air tonight on ESPN.