A Sports Illustrated feature profile of the Mamba as he begins the home stretch of his career. A bit long, but very enlightening…

(Full article HERE)

This side of Kobe, the inquisitive entre­preneur, is a relatively new development. Early in his rehab from the knee injury, he was limited to 45 minutes a day on the exercise bike, which left him 23 hours and 15 minutes to focus on something other than basketball. It was hell. “You get this feeling that you’re living without a purpose,” says Bryant. “And that’s not O.K.”

So Bryant read business tomes and spent long hours talking with people he admires and filling a series of notebooks. “Just nothing but sketches and drawing and org charts and direction… Conversations I’ve had with muses, how they built their company, notes…”

He is curious in a manner most athletes aren’t. He wants to know how and why things work.

Among those Bryant ­idolizes—Steve Jobs and Bruce Lee, for ­instance—there is often a common theme. They are outsiders. They buck the system. Succeed against the odds. In their lives Bryant sees not just road maps but validation.

“You can’t afford to placate people,” he explains, his voice rising. “You can’t afford to do that. You’re a leader. You’re not here to be a social butterfly. You’re here to get them to the promised land. A lot of people shy away from that because a lot of people want to be liked by every­body. I want to be liked too. But I know that years from now they’ll appreciate how I pushed them to get us to that end result.”