Why Gen-Y Will Always Admire Kobe Bryant's Rise To The Top

by Josh Hoffman

A lot of people will look back on Kobe Bryant's 20-year career and tell their kids he was one of the greatest players to ever don a Lakers jersey, step foot on the NBA hardwood and even pick up a basketball.

They'll talk about his NBA championships, his All-Star appearances, the MVP award, Olympic gold medals and 30,000 career points, the third-most by any player in the history of the NBA, by the way.

However, what most of these people won't talk about is how he accomplished the glory and the fame.

They won't mention his 4 am gym sessions, or the fact that he was constantly evolving and reinventing his game, always doing whatever he could to improve and adjust.

Even after each NBA season ended and most of the other NBA players were vacationing, relaxing or otherwise spending time away from basketball, he was hard at work.

That's how Kobe has been able to have such a long, illustrious career. And to me, that's what his legacy means.

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As soon as Kobe was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996, and then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers on the same day, I began idolizing the Black Mamba.

Heck, my friends used to call me the Kobe Apologist because I would defend him at all costs for what he did on the basketball court.

A lot of people laugh when they hear that I call Kobe one of my role models, but the truth is, watching him from afar taught me a ton about dedication and motivation.

The problem today, especially for Millennials, is that we only see the highlights of people's lives on social media and in the mainstream media.

We only see the achievements and the accolades, the end results, essentially.

We don't always see or pay attention to what happens behind the scenes, so to speak, when Kobe and every other public figure aren't front and center.

The thing is, Kobe's relentless work ethic and pursuit of greatness is actually well-documented.

There are tons of articles and videos that you can find online about what he does during the season and in the off-season, when he's away from the Hollywood lights.

However, many of us only pay attention to the highlights of people's lives, so we fail to understand how they arrived to where they are.

Sometimes we fail to realize that these people are just like us. They need to put in the time and the effort; they need to make sacrifices; they need to go through disappointments, challenges and frustrations just like the rest of us.

There really is no such thing as overnight success, literally and figuratively. And that's what we all can learn from Kobe.

If you remember Kobe's first season in the NBA, he didn't even start for the Lakers, and he played horribly in the playoffs that year.

But he didn't see that as a problem; he saw that as an opportunity. It was an opportunity to harness massive amounts of dedication and motivation to be the best player he could be.

It's the same for the rest of us.

If we want to the best in whatever we want to accomplish, whether it's in our personal or professional lives, we need to be willing to put in the time and the effort 365, 24/7.

We need to make sacrifices.

We need to experience disappointments, challenges and frustrations. And most importantly, we need to embrace all of these things as part of the journey.

Otherwise, we'll just be like all the other players.