Shunned From Social Events, 17YO Kobe Bryant’s Loner Lifestyle Proved to Be a Boon for the Lakers Legend

Published 09/04/2023, 10:30 AM EDT

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NBA icon Kobe Bryant left an indelible legacy, not just on the court, but off it as well. The Mamba Mentality has inspired many worldwide but do you know that Kobe’s legendary journey began in the shadows of loneliness? It is difficult to fathom how a lonely 17-year-old became a Los Angeles Lakers legend. But as was the case throughout his career, he turned this isolation into a stepping stone towards greatness.

Kobe played for the Lakers for 20 years and by the time he retired, he had 5 championship rings on his fingers.

Young Kobe Bryant and his weekend plans


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In the video below, a young Kobe can be heard saying, “My name is Kobe Bryant, 17 years old. I wasn’t invited to parties or gatherings on weekends.” These are the words of a young teenager who was struggling to make friends but was hellbent on conquering his passion.

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The young Kobe described his weekend as being very lonely. He said that because he was not invited to any parties, he would retreat to his rec room and spend his time with a basketball. And in the quiet of the night, he would dribble away his sorrows. Maybe the young Kobe did know that these hours of lonely practice sessions would pay off with 5 championships by the end of his iconic career.


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The teen Kobe lived his life from one busy school week to a silent weekend. The Black Mamba oftentimes found himself alone, but he did manage to forge that emptiness into a burning hunger.


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Kobe’s loneliness became the canvas upon which he painted his dreams. He said, “In the rec room, I discovered the hunger, the motivation, and the desire to be the best possible basketball player that I could be.”

Discovering Hunger, Motivation, and Desire

On the weekends, when everyone else was busy partying, Kobe’s rec room became his training ground. Behind the echo of the ball’s dribble, Kobe would find his comfort. He embraced his fate and did everything he could to make himself better at what he loved, playing the game of basketball.


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The loneliness failed to break Kobe and instead; it planted a seed of his greatness in the rec room. A young Kobe taught us that it was not about the glamourous parties and crowded gatherings that shaped our destinies. Sometimes, it’s the lonely hours by ourselves that define who we become.

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Written by:

Nischal Bahuguna


One take at a time

Nischal Bahuguna is an NBA author at EssentiallySports, with a deep passion for sports and writing. He is an NBA enthusiast and a seasoned basketball player. With over two years of professional writing experience, Nischal seamlessly blends his interests and skills to excel in his craft.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth