Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant recently shared insightful reflections on his life and career in a letter to his younger self.
The future NBA Hall of Famer addressed the letter to himself at 17 — the age when Bryant transitioned from a high school basketball star to a rising legend in the NBA.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 21, 2016
Within the letter, which was published by the Players Tribune, focused on a number of different topics. However, two of the topics that really stood out within the heartfelt letter were investments and budgeting. No, Kobe Bryant did not offer himself tips about surviving the stock market or even diversifying his portfolio. However, the 37-year-old married father highlighted exactly how to invest in his family and friends the correct way.
“Purely giving material things to your siblings and friends may appear to be the right decision. You love them, and they were always there for you growing up, so it’s only right that they should share in your success and all that comes with it. So you buy them a car, a big house, pay all of their bills. You want them to live a beautiful, comfortable life, right? But the day will come when you realize that as much as you believed you were doing the right thing, you were actually holding them back.”
Kobe Bryant continued his letter to his younger self by expressing the “extremely selfish” side of improper giving – the fact that it made him feel good and happy to see them “smiling and without a care in the world.”
However, Kobe admits that his self-gratification actually buried the underlying truth that he was “eating away at their own dreams and ambitions.”
“You were adding material things to their lives, but subtracting the most precious gifts of all: independence and growth. Understand that you are about to be the leader of the family, and this involves making tough choices, even if your siblings and friends do not understand them at the time. Invest in their future, don’t just give.”
Kobe Bryant encouraged his younger self to use his “success, wealth and influence” to put his family and friends in a solid position that would allow them to realize their own dreams and true purposes. By investing in them, Kobe encouraged 17-year-old Kobe to set up job opportunities as well as investing in their higher education and leadership skills.
“Hold them to the same level of hard work and dedication that it took for you to get to where you are now, and where you will eventually go.”
Showing respect for his younger self’s attention span, Kobe acknowledged that he had a lot more insight to share but that he would address more in a future letter. Perhaps one of the biggest highlights in his letter was listed as the “most important advice” that he could give: making sure that “your parents remain parents and not managers.”
Something every athlete goes through when they get their first big contract & I’m glad Kobe addressed it. https://t.co/5Cyqex9Qvc
— Justin E. Spears (@JustinESports) July 20, 2016
— Speak For Yourself (@SFY) July 20, 2016
Kobe encouraged himself to calculate a proper budget for his parents before signing his first contract in order to allow them to “live beautifully while also growing your business and setting people up for long-term success.”
With his life-changing transition into joining the Los Angeles Lakers as a young teenager approaching manhood, Kobe Bryant advised his younger self to let it all “sink in” after his lengthy training days. According to Kobe, the long-term value of “setting things up right from the beginning” would have allowed him to avoid a lot of sadness and pain – “some of which remains to this day.”
Longtime fans and critics of Kobe Bryant will likely be able to know exactly what Kobe Bryant was referring to throughout his insightful letter — especially when you think about the highs and lows of his triumphant NBA career. However, many people would agree that these words of wisdom could easily be used to encourage and inspire anyone making the transition into adulthood — even those that will never step foot on a basketball court in their lives.
[Photo by Marcus Brandt/Getty Images]