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The Mamba Mentality: How I Play

The Mamba Mentality: How I Play

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The Mamba Mentality: How I Play

4.5/5 (380 ratings)
226 pages
1 hour
Oct 23, 2018

Editor's Note

Remembering a legend…

Kobe’s tragic death has us thinking a lot about his legacy, both on and off the court. Remember him through this insightful memoir about the way he played the game, and the included terrific photos of The Black Mamba at his best.


Written by Scribd Editors

After his retirement, Kobe Bryant had a desire to teach young basketball players, hardcore fans, and devoted students of the game how to play “the right way.” He shares his knowledge and experience in this memoir titled The Mamba Mentality: How I Play.

Bryant is one of the most intelligent, analytical, and creative basketball players of all time. In this book, he goes into great detail about preparing for his games, studying his opponents, channeling his passion, and playing while sustaining injuries. Hear about some of the most famous match-ups and plays of his career from the perspective of The Black Mamba himself.

Since his death in early 2020, the photographs and first-hand accounts in this memoir have become even more precious. His twenty-year career is one that basketball players and fans will be talking about for decades to come. Whether you play basketball, you watch it religiously, or you’re specifically interested in the career of Kobe Bryant, this memoir is a fascinating read.

Oct 23, 2018

About the author

Kobe Bryant (1978-2020) was one of the most accomplished and celebrated athletes of all time. Over the course of his twenty-year career—all played with the Los Angeles Lakers—he won five NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals, eighteen All-Star selections, and four All-Star Game MVP awards, among many other achievements before retiring in 2016. In 2018, Bryant won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film as writer of Dear Basketball, which he also narrated. He was the first African American to win the award as well as the first former professional athlete to be nominated and win an Oscar in any category. As a philanthropist, Bryant founded the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation (KVBFF) and the Kobe Bryant China Fund, organizations dedicated to providing resources for educational, social, and sports programs to improve the lives of children and families in need, and encourage cultural exchanges between Chinese and U. S. middle school children. He was also an official ambassador for After-School All-Stars (ASAS), a nonprofit organization that offers after-school programs to low-income children in more than a dozen U. S. cities. With entrepreneur Jeff Stibel, Bryant co-founded Bryant Stibel, a company designed to offer businesses specializing in technology, media, and data strategies, capital, and operational support. Throughout his post-professional basketball career, Bryant claimed he’d never been beaten one-on-one.

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The Mamba Mentality - Kobe Bryant



Kobe Bryant

Foreword by PAU GASOL

Introduction by PHIL JACKSON

Photographs and Afterword by ANDREW D. BERNSTEIN

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Table of Contents

About the Authors

Copyright Page

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I remember when, as a kid, I got my first real basketball.

I loved the feel of it in my hands. I was so enamored with the ball that I didn’t actually want to bounce it or use it, because I didn’t want to ruin the pebbled leather grains or the perfect grooves. I didn’t want to ruin the feel.

I loved the sound of it, too. The tap, tap, tap of when a ball bounces on the hardwood. The crispness and clarity. The predictability. The sound of life and light.

Those are some of the elements that I loved about the ball, about the game. They were at the core and root of my process and craft. They were the reasons I went through all that I went through, put in all that I put in, dug as deep as I dug.

It all came back to that special tap, tap, tap that I first grew infatuated with as a boy.

This book is dedicated to the next generation of great athletes.

May you find the power in understanding the journey of others to help create your own.

Just make it better than this one.


To my family, thanks for your love, support, and patience.


here: NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, February 8, 1997, Cleveland

here: GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS, October 7, 2001, Away

here: MIAMI HEAT, January 17, 2013

here: Practice, 1996, Hawaii

here: Practice, 1996, Los Angeles



It was a pivotal moment in my career as a basketball player, but also in my life away from the sport. My path aligned with one of the greatest players to have ever played the game I love.

Just a few hours after being told that I’d been traded from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Los Angeles Lakers, I was on a cross-country flight to L.A., as opposite a city as you can find. The next morning, I had to go through a mandatory physical in order to finalize my trade. The Lakers were on the road and I couldn’t wait to join my new teammates, so as soon as my physical was over I got on another plane to Washington, D.C. Kobe called me that morning, asking me to meet up once I arrived at the Ritz Carlton. It was past 1 AM when I finally got to my room, and shortly after I heard someone knocking at my door. It was Kobe. To me, that was a tremendous demonstration of a true leader, and our meeting had a huge impact on me, instantly. The message was clear: there was no time to waste, the moment was now, let’s go get ourselves a ring. His mindset was unmistakable—it was all about winning.

One of the qualities that has made Kobe so successful, and always will, is his attention to detail. He always used to tell us: if you want to be a better player, you have to prepare, prepare, and prepare some more. His dissection of the game was at another level. I’m a player who watches a lot of tape, I like to watch my opponents’ latest game to see how they are playing at the point that I’m about to face them, but Kobe took it a few steps further than that. I remember it like it was yesterday: we were in Boston during the 2010 Finals and I got a text from him. He wanted me to come to his room to show me a few clips of how the Celtics were covering the pick-and-roll and how we should attack it for the next game. I know for a fact that degree of detail, both in preparation and study, was a key factor in us winning those championships and many of the successes that Kobe achieved individually.

In my entire career, I’ve never seen a player as dedicated to being the best. His determination is unparalleled. He unquestionably worked harder than anyone else I have ever played with. Kobe knew that to be the best you need a different approach from everyone else. I remember a time when we got together as a team to have our annual dinner right before the playoffs. I was sitting next to him, and as we were getting ready to leave, he told me he was going to the gym to get a workout in. As much as I was very aware of the amount of extra time he put in outside of our regular work hours, it always shocked me how disciplined he could be even during a relaxed situation. When everyone else was thinking it was time for bed, his mind was telling him it’s time to get ahead of the competition.

Over the years, a lot of people have wondered how difficult it must’ve been to play with Kobe. It really wasn’t. All you had to do was understand where he was coming from, what he was about, and how badly he wanted to win. He would challenge players and coaches to match his intensity, his desire, to bring their very best every single day, not just at games, but at practices, too. Kobe wanted to find out what you were made of, and if he could count on you to help him win, plain and simple. I will always be thankful to him. He brought the best out of me as a basketball player, and he made me a stronger person, too. Our time was truly invaluable.

I’m the oldest sibling in my family and I always try to be an example for my two younger brothers, challenge them when I think they need to be and praise them when they deserve it. Kobe is the closest thing to an older brother for me. He never hesitated to tell me things as they were, never sugarcoated anything for me, and challenged me along the way so I could give my best at all times. Through the best moments, but especially during the harder ones, our bond only got stronger and we have always had each other’s backs, just as brothers would.

Enjoy this magnificent book, which reflects some of what I’ve shared here with you, the qualities of an extraordinary person. I have no doubt that you will be inspired.

—PAU GASOL, teammate 2008–2014



It will certainly offer a deeper understanding of the detailed and dedicated way Kobe Bryant approached the game. It’s one thing to have talent, but another to have the drive

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What people think about The Mamba Mentality

380 ratings / 48 Reviews
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  • (4/5)
    am obsessed with Kobe's personality and mindset.
    Through the book, I was in awe to see that he was not only one of the greatest basketball players but also magnificent and spectacular as an individual.

    I am thankful that I was able to see that his success was the result of his incredible work ethic, discipline, and willpower always to evolve.
    His great personality is shown in how he treats his opponents. They all came under his close scrutiny, he studied their weaknesses and strengths. How he respected talent and never said degrading things about the other person, and how he valued a good opponent.
  • (5/5)
    A wonderful book big inspiration to the community without any doubt
  • (4/5)
    Health insurance technology for all workers and member representing it community
  • (4/5)
    As a basketball fan, this should be a must. One can't love basketball without liking Kobe Bryant.
  • (5/5)
    Impressive work ethic! Success is based on your mentality. Nice insights!
  • (5/5)
    It’s mostly about Kobe sharing his thoughts, stories and techniques about the game of basketball ?.

    He shared his experiences on how he guarded and attacked players.

    The photos captured by Bernstein were awesome, and Kobe signed in it what he was doing and what the opponents were doing at that time.

    For someone who love watching Basketball, this one’s a good read.
  • (4/5)
    I think the book was good but definitely tailors for up and coming basketball players or players who want to be better. This books gives a ton of insight of how Kobe played and each opponent he went up against was a different skill he used. Nice easy read
  • (4/5)
    I love the way it went through his history and how he had to fight his way through to get a title
  • (5/5)
    A great depiction of what extreme work ethic and dedication can bring about
  • (5/5)
    Great book! Will practice the Mamba Mentality within me to succeed in life.
  • (4/5)
    This book is great, but lack some depth on some titles.
  • (5/5)
    Amazing book would definitely recommend reading and it very easy to read.
  • (5/5)
    I was hooked to each and every line in this book. Finished reading it in one stretch!
  • (4/5)
    An inspiring read and a wonderful insight into the mind of one of the greatest basketball player

  • (5/5)
    It was the best. I play basketball and this book shows me plays that I have never thought of. Kobe is now gone R.I.P but he is still the best.
  • (5/5)
    It's not just about BB. It's something more than it
  • (5/5)
    Excellent read. Inspiring. Sad that Kobe left early, but comforting to know his legacy will be timeless.
  • (5/5)
    This book truly gives insight into the mind of greatness. It is special in the sense of giving you access behind the courtains of what it takes to achieve master status in a certain field. After taking a deeper look into the words of Kobe Bean Byant, one is given the chance to see for himself what flaws he needs to work on and how to go about fixing those. What is important to stress is that the book is universal. It applies to basketball in the same way as it applies to other occupations or areas of life. In addition, it is an easy and fun read, managable in one sitting. May the Legend rest in eternal peace, his Family be blessed and may his legacy shine as a true reflection of the icon Kobe represented in the lives of many. Thank you Kobe!
  • (5/5)
    I love that i didn't just talk about kobe it talk about his gameplay and prepartion he had for the games.
  • (5/5)
    We miss you Kobe. Reading this book helped me understand what Mamba mentality meant to him
  • (5/5)
    Great book... Loved every second of it. Try reading it.
  • (5/5)
    It was a great book that taught me many lessons about life and hoops
  • (5/5)
    Amazing R.I.P Kobe we miss you all the book was amazing.
  • (5/5)
    The best book to read simply because of Kobe Bryant
  • (5/5)
    Excellent insights. You don't even have to be interested in basketball to gain from this. Kobe effectively illustrates how to win at whatever you do, based on their own experience.
  • (4/5)
    It is truly inspiring how Kobe kept reinventing himself for the game and to be one of the greats. With his Mamba Mentality, he truly deserved to be one of the All-Time Greats and it’s inspiring to push yourself beyond your limits. I love the discipline and how aware he is of his strengths, his weaknesses, his mind, and his body. He is a genius in his craft, innovative, and passionate.
  • (5/5)
    I was not a big fan of Kobe but I respected him and his love for the game of basketball. Once Kobe was gone I became a fan seeking to drink in articles, interviews and the many tributes and accolades that gave an insight to the man. Reading this book I was able to see inside the mind of the greatest player hands down. The basketball world was blessed to have him. The book was excellently written and the pictures were out of this world.
  • (5/5)
    The GOAT , if you ever admired him play read this book to understand him a little better. RIP.
  • (5/5)
    Excellent book. Mamba Mentality forever, no pain no fear
  • (5/5)
    If you love basketball or know who Kobe is, this is a must read for you!