‘No Prisoner Mentality’: Tim Grover Details How The Movie ‘Kill Bill’ Inspired Kobe Bryant

Published 06/21/2021, 7:00 AM EDT
January 22, 2014 Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant during the first half in a game between the Miami (Fl) Hurricanes and the Duke Blue Devils (Photo by Juan Salas/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Ever wonder how Kobe Bryant was the next best thing after Michael Jordan? The answer is simple; they had the same trainer who helped them achieve greatness. In fact, Jordan is the reason why Kobe got Tim Grover as his trainer. And if a man has helped Jordan through his historic careers with Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, he is bound to bring a lot to the table.

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If there is anyone who knew Kobe and the way he was, it’s Tim Grover. Grover knows what the famous Mamba Mentality actually stood for and what it meant to Kobe. As a matter of fact, he saw the birth of this mentality.

Tim Grover defines Mamba mentality

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Michael Covel recently interviewed Grover in which Grover explained his perception of the Mamba mentality. “The Mamba mentality is not a mentality, it’s a lifestyle,” he stated. “I have seen Mamba mentality destroy and hinder more careers than it has actually helped.”

Guard (24) Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers prays before playing against the Detroit Pistons before the Pistons 97-83 victory over the Lakers at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)

Grover labeled it as a “no-prisoner mentality.” This means that while competing, whether in games or practices, the most important part is the focus. Nothing else should matter more than the goal at hand.

“You don’t come down to anybody else’s level. You make them rise to yours,” said Tim. “It is a place where your mind is always stronger than your feelings.”

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How Kobe Bryant developed this mentality

While we all know that this mentality exists, where did it stem from, and what did Kobe make of it? Covel asked exactly this question, to which Grover confessed that it was during a difficult time in Kobe’s personal life that this philosophy entered his career.

Jan 21 2009: Kobe Bryant during the 108-97 Los Angeles Lakers victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif. (Photo by Darryl Dennis/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)

“He wanted to create a separate alter ego identity to separate the two of what he was going on in his personal life and what was going on the basketball court,” Grover explained. “In the movie Kill Bill, there was an assassin named Black Mamba. And obviously, Kobe is looking at something. He’s not going to name his alter ego after a garden snake but the most venomous snake out there.

This is where Kobe got the idea from. It evolved into who he wanted to be when he stepped on the court. This is the personality he wanted to have. Grover emphasized that it helped Kobe use his heart less and mind more to win games.

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This is what made Kobe the legend that he was; he was able to bring the best version of himself in the worst circumstances.

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Yashima Bhatia

1329 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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