The Mamba Mentality: How I Play by Kobe Bryant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was not what I expected. I thought it would be the typical auto-biography of one of the greatest sports stars of the last 25 years, complete with details of his upbringing, family history, introduction to basketball, high school years and then a detailed description of his nearly 20 years as a Los Angeles Laker.
I was expecting detailed stories of what happened before the draft and what it was like to be a 17 year old in the NBA.
I wanted to know about his rookie year and growth as a player….the real story on his relationship with Shaq and Phil along with his decision to remain a Laker when he had the chance to leave via free agency.
This book really isn’t about any of that.
Instead, it’s a first person account of Kobe and his approach to the game. Most pages are short vignettes on a thought Kobe expounds on. It might be a name of a player he faced followed by Kobe’s thoughts on that player or how he would defend him or exploit him on offense. Or it might be thoughts on his pre-game ritual or his off-season training regimen.
Kobe gives analysis of dozens of players he faced over the years and how he prepared to defend and attack them. He also shares his personal thoughts on numerous team-mates he played with over the course of his career, including Olympic team-mates.
I found this book to be pretty easy to read and very entertaining. There were lots of photos from long-time Laker photographer Andrew Bernstein. It was interesting to hear Kobe share his thoughts on the game and as I read the words on each page, I imagined his voice speaking to me as if I were listening to an audiobook.
If you’re a Kobe fan, you’ll love this book. It doesn’t give the complete picture of who Kobe was or how he came to be the competitor that he was; we probably need an autobiography to fill in all those details for us. But this book was an interesting peek into the mind of a Laker legend and a basketball icon who sadly left us way too early.