Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace spoke to how Kobe Bryant encouraged him to pursue his desires after his playing career
Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was curious, cerebral, and competitive. Those three things, following his playing career, blended to craft a personality that was always looking for avenues to learn and do more outside of the game of basketball, which he had mastered over the course of his time with the Lakers.
Bryant, in the few years of his retirement prior to his sudden and shocking death in early 2020, kept in touch with plenty of his former teammates and adversaries, learning from how they kept busy in retirement, picking their brains on how he could best carry out his next chapter, and encouraging others around him as well.
Metta World Peace, speaking to Danny Green on the Inside the Green Room podcast, spoke on when he went to Bryant’s office to swap project notes on what each of them was working on.
“He was actually doing edits to about seven scripts, there must have been, you know, six piles of books of edits, he had these books he was putting out, which his wife is putting out now,” World Peace said.
World Peace talked about how Bryant encouraged him to fearlessly go after his desires that he might have gone after had he never had an NBA career occupying his time.
“I was talking about a few things I was doing so he was encouraging me, I wanted to get into digital analytics and different things like that. I love math and I love my first major in college, architecture, and I tried to find myself after basketball and he would just encourage me, encourage me, you know, ‘keep going, keep going,’ you know, and I knew I really wanted to get into it.”
Bryant was a conversationalist on the floor with his teammates, lifting his teammates up around him and making them better, and that attitude continued in his short-lived post-playing career.
“I would show him things that I’m doing on the digital analytics side, you know, connecting apps to all different types of products and learning different products and he would always give me the encouragement and reassure me that, ‘hey, it’s okay, keep going, keep going,’” World Peace said.
In his retirement, Bryant had many ventures he pursued. He created the Mamba Academy, a gym for athletes trying to pursue excellence through competition in sport. He co-created the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation. He won an Oscar for his writing on the short film Dear Basketball, which was his penned letter to the game of basketball announcing his retirement turned into an animated short film.
Bryant, unfortunately, had just a few short years to become a “girl dad” and to chase ventures he probably dreamed about and said, “when I have the time,” to while he was playing for the Lakers.
In that short time, he was extremely successful and productive, and players like World Peace looking to him for affirmation on their own post-playing projects goes to show just how respected he was even during retirement.