New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick shared a firsthand account of the awe and gravitas that Kobe Bryant instilled in his team once upon a time.
A man who embodied hard work and determination. A man who never settled for less and never stopped until he was the best. A true winner.
That man being Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant had a positive impact on more than just the basketball players around the world. He affected all types of athletes and competitors in their own respective ways. For many athletes around the world, Kobe Bryant is this generation’s equivalent of Michael Jordan, and he is one of the greatest athletes of all time.
When you get to the status of Bill Belichick – who knows the blueprint to winning and has won it all time and time again – you grow a certain type of appreciation for all the other sports and how other coaches and athletes approach the game.
Belichick had a very heartfelt statement about what Kobe meant to the world of sports, and how he influenced his New England Patriots team just two years ago.
Here’s what he had to say about the late NBA superstar, per ESPN’s Field Yates:
“This is an extremely sad time for the entire sports community. In my 45 years in the NFL, I have never witnessed a group as captivated as the day Kobe addressed our team two years ago. The respect and reverence he commanded far exceeded him being a legendary player. He was a special person with an unmatched passion, intensity and mentality toward achieving his goals.
Kobe’s determination led to a brilliant athletic career and paved the way for successes in the next chapters of his life. By bringing joy to millions of people with his extraordinary athletic ability, inspiring people to elevate the standard for anything they do or performing countless acts of encouragement, Kobe Bryant’s lasting impact is immeasurable.
I hope our collective thoughts and prayers can help provide strength to the families of all the victims of this tragedy.”
The New England Patriots are one of the only professional sports teams to have the same amount of success as Kobe Bryant did during his 20-year career in the NBA. Kobe and the Los Angeles Lakers went on to win five NBA championships, while Tom Brady and the Patriots won six Super Bowls over the same time frame (the only other team to have done something similar being the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs).
In terms of wanting to be the greatest to ever do it, Kobe Bryant and Tom Brady have a lot in common in that respect. As of right now, Brady and Bryant have both spent 20 years with their respective franchises, and have both appeared in and won at least five world championships in their respective sports.
At 42 years old, Brady is looking to enter his 21st season in the NFL, because he doesn’t feel as if he’s accomplished everything he needs to just yet. That to me seems very reminiscent of the “Mamba Mentality” that Kobe Bryant famously preached.
Patriots safety Duron Harmon expounded on the event that Belichick referenced in his comments, and also shed some light on the eerie parallels between Brady and Bryant, per Sports Illustrated’s Devon Clements:
“When he [Bryant] was telling us about his training regimen, how he approached a day, a light bulb went off in my head: That’s Tom. You realize it’s no coincidence. That’s the reason why Kobe Bryant is Kobe Bryant. That’s the reason why Tom Brady is Tom Brady. His [Brady’s] approach to the game, it’s totally different than the majority of the NFL. And that’s why they have the success they have.”
Kobe Bryant became a generational icon and hero, and his legacy will live on forever throughout sports all over the world.