Don’t be fooled: Kobe Bryant is still the same bloodthirsty competitor he always has been. It’s just that he doesn’t have to tear anyone’s head off to get his point across anymore.
In a series of excerpts SI didn’t fit into their original piece on Bean from last week – read the whole thing, it’s fantastic – Bryant opens up about, well, pretty much everything (money, teammates, leadership, growing old, rehab, his basketball future, etc.) Here are his thoughts on finding inner-peace (word to Phil Jackson):
“I found my inner Zen. You just realize that there are things that you can’t control. Doesn’t mean you don’t try to manage them. But there are things you can’t control. So you do the best you can, prepare as well as you can, and you’re comfortable with that. You just figure things out. There are certain problems that arise, you’ll try to solve it at that time, you might not be able to solve it at that time, but then you’ll just kind of keep at it. If you fail miserably, you learn something new so you don’t fail on something else.
“I think it’s easy for people to confuse inner peace and you being comfortable with who you are with complacency. And it’s the exact opposite. Because when you’re focused on the moment, and each day as it comes, when the big moment comes and everybody’s looking at you, you’re really ready, because you really just looked at it as one day at a time.”
“So watching me play, I want to compete and play as hard as I can because this is what I f—ing love doing. You know what I mean? It has to be there, but in terms of how I communicate it, I’m doing much more of communicating it to the outside world, partly because I think that the messages get mixed up for the younger players coming up now, and the time that it takes to accomplish what you want to accomplish as a basketball player, and the love that you have for the game, not for all the other bulls–t. Not for followers on Twitter, or Facebook or sitting here doing interviews and s–t. It’s not about that. It’s about the game.”