This piece was written by Jamal Clay, a frequent contributor of Globally Ballin and the founder of "The Athletes Forum"
Kobe Bryant meant the world to me. Kobe and my trainer (Melvin Coleman) when I was in college both taught me about work ethic. Listening to Kobe Bryant years ago and the mamba mentality that he displayed of work ethic, it was phenomenal for me. He taught me how to build a schedule for my own work ethic as a professional athlete and that has helped me in my career thus far.
Now honestly, I am not a basketball guy, but when I think of Kobe Bryant and some of his top moments, it brings back memories to when I was kid listening to some of his interviews, or even shouting out “KOBE” when shooting a shot, Kobe was everything. One special moment I do remember is the day that Kobe retired from basketball, after he won the game my heart just melted because I felt his love and passion for the game. I see a lot of similarities with Kobe and I, we both have the passion to be the best and to be great, and we both are very curious. Kobe always speaks about himself having curiosity and that will expand his knowledge into the game. It allowed him to ask questions and it allowed him to become a student of the game. I can relate to Kobe in that sense because I always want to learn and try to become the better version of myself. We both love our games so much that we would do whatever we have to do in order to get better.
Football has brought a lot of things to my life. It has allowed me to bring my talents to Europe, meet new people who I call family now, and allowed me to earn a living over here.
My game on the field resembles to Kobe because when I’m on the field I’m going to try and outwork you and prove you are not a better player than me. Doesn’t matter if I am weight training, speed training, or if its game day I am going to attack every aspect of my game like Kobe did his because I want to be the best. Yeah I am playing football in Europe and it’s not the NFL, but while I’m out here I want people to know who I am and that other imports are not going to outwork me and there isn’t going to be anyone that will be able to stop me on the field.
I think numbers meant something to Kobe. He went from 8 to 24 because he wanted to up Michael Jordan because he was 23. I wanted to get #8 this year to honor him because he shaped my mindset to who I am now.
The Mamba Mentality is a unique mindset. I wish I could match Kobe and his intensity to the mamba mentality, but I was able to create my own in college called Jalloh Juice. So, when I do certain things through that mamba mentality, I call it the juice mentality. I love what I do, and I want to be the best at it and not everybody has that mentality.
If I was able to see or speak with Kobe right now, I’d be lost for words, but the first thing I would do is just give him a hug and thank him for the path he paved when it comes to work ethic. He shaped me to who I am right now.
Kobe, god be with your family. Your legacy will live through me and thank you for your inspiration!
Alpha Jalloh #8