The Atlantic

The Best Advice Kobe Bryant Ever Gave Me

When I profiled him in 2007, the NBA star said something I’ve never forgotten.
Source: Ronald Martinez / Getty

Kobe Bryant spent the greater part of his adult lifetime in one of the most traffic-clogged areas of the country. He lived in Orange County and worked in Los Angeles—the Lakers’ practice facility is near the airport; the Staples Center is downtown.

Sitting in a classic Southern California traffic jam—it has taken me up to three hours to drive the 40-odd miles between Staples and Kobe’s neighborhood—I have often thought wistfully about taking a helicopter.

Kobe looked at life as a skill set to be mastered, a mountain to climb, a list of problems to solve. It makes no sense to waste your life in traffic if you can fly right over it.

Kobe actually took the helicopter.

The year I moved to Southern California, 1997, happened to intersect with Kobe’s first season in the NBA. As a husband

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