In one of his articles for The Player Tribune, Kobe Bryant opened up about his competitive relationship with Allen Iverson. Iverson had a hot start in the league, as Bryant was struggling to make a name for himself. In 1999, Iverson scored 41 points and dropped 10 assists in a game where Bryant was guarding him.
Bryant was mortified. He became obsessed, fixated on anything he could find to help him learn about Iverson’s game: books, articles, news segments, anything.
Bryant got an opportunity to enact revenge the next year. At halftime, Lakers coach Phil Jackson told Kobe to guard Iverson. The Lakers won and Iverson didn’t score a single point the rest of the game.
While revenge was sweet, it taught Bryant a valuable lesson that he took with him the rest of his career: he needed to treat every matchup like life or death. Nobody would be able to have mind control over him like Iverson had for years.
“I swore, from that point on, to approach every matchup as a matter of life and death. No one was going to have that kind of control over my focus ever again. I will choose who I want to target and lock-in. I will choose whether or not your goals for the upcoming season compromise where I want to be in 20 years. If they don’t, happy hunting to you. But if they do….I will hunt you obsessively. It’s only natural.”
Are you treating your adversity with Bryant-like intensity? Get after it today.