How Could I Hate Kobe!?

The passing of Kobe Bryant has sent my mind on quite a ride. As a teenager, I didn’t like Kobe. It was little to do with actual sports and everything to do with who I thought he was. I had the mentality of “Who is dude?” “He has yet to do anything great but he demanding to play for the Lakers!?” “And they about to honor that!?!?! HELL NAW!!!”

I would spend the rest of my teen years and early 20’s loathing Kobe Bryant. I was anything but a fan. I made jokes and was ready to slander at any given chance just because. I sit here a grown man and realizing how foolish I was to do that. Not because he is no longer with us, but because I have grown much like he had. My life experiences changed me and my approach to life has changed. Wildly enough, I can pinpoint the time when I turned the corner on my disdain for Kobe.

It started with Steve Nash winning back to back MVP’s. I liked Nash, but it was no doubt in my mind that Kobe was better than him. I had no clue how the NBA saw otherwise especially when I wasn’t anything near a fan or supporter of Kobe. Steve Nash won the MVP in 2005-2006. The season I recognize as “The greatest offensive season I’ve ever seen from one player”. That season, we watched Kobe frequently score 40 and 50 point games. Sometimes scoring 60 or more within 3 quarters. It’s also the season he scored 81. And the reason why it was the greatest to me? Because a lot of those teams the Lakers blew off the court. Kobe was all time great at both ends of the floor and basketball looked unfair when he played that year and the year after. It was truly amazing and even with no love in my heart for him, I had to respect him.

Time passes and I eventually turn 27-28. To be honest, I had no clue of what to do with my life and never really made plans. I had realized that I wandered aimlessly for a decade. I did things. I was good at a lot, but I had no real path to happiness or greatness. A switch flipped in me and I really wanted more. I wanted to be great. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be admired for my accomplishments. I knew I had greater purpose, but wasn’t really sure how to get there or what that purpose really was. It was during those times, I began to understand the level of greatness I and many people around me hated in real time.

Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Floyd Mayweather, Kobe Bryant. Some of the names synonymous with Greatness and Hate. I never hated Ali, I just thought you could argue he’s not the greatest. Being from Illinois, I should have been a bigger Jordan fan in real time. Tom Brady, I never hated, but then again, I didn’t begin to pay attention to him until 2006-2007. Floyd Mayweather, I still don’t “like” as a person, but I have a respect for his craft and dedication to it. Kobe rebuilt and solidified himself with the change from 8 to 24 and got my attention.

Kobe Bryant became a person I truly began to admire because he made me fall in love with having a winning mindset. The “Mamba Mentality” became inspiring to me, but I had to change and want more out of life to understand it. When I was 15 to 25, I had no knowledge of self or purpose. I had no clue who to be and why. I didn’t really have a “role model” I just saw certain things and people I would want to be. I had no real idea of what it meant to put in hard work to achieve something and marvel at the accomplishment. Looking back, it’s very easy to see why I didn’t recognize or appreciate certain levels of greatness. I had no idea what it was like to be great myself.

Now, I’m in my 30’s and I regret how I have wasted time. My lack of direction has given me anxiety about the future because I feel I could have accomplished more if I made real plans and real goals. I now relate to wanting to win bad and wanting to win often. I don’t like to hear excuses. I get extremely agitated when I hear can’t or won’t. It’s hard to respect those that don’t at least try to create solutions. If I had that in my mind at 15, who knows where I’d be. But even at 27-28, I was still strapped with plenty of time. Kobe did a lot of great and amazing things and unfortunately his life was cut extremely short. I don’t know him personally, but I doubt that he left this earth with any regrets. That’s something I want to have when I leave this life. Accomplishments and no regrets.

I want to work hard, play hard, accomplish all I can and leave it all on the floor with absolutely nothing on the table. I look at what people like Kobe and Nispey Hussle created in their short time here and feel in my soul I can do it too! I’m in between both their ages. I have the same 24 hours. I can focus, work, elevate and manifest the life that my mind holds. I just have to spend everyday trying to unlock it.

Kobe Bryant; Thank you. Thank you for being a symbol of consistent greatness and excellence. Thank you for showing me what it really takes to win. That you for helping me realize what a small mind is and how greatness is truly internal and is only criticized by the unfocused, misdirected and weak. That you for wanting your life to be polarizing, because it was the ultimate testament to anybody that truly wants to be great at anything. I hate the fact I am sharing these words in your demise, but I will always cite your legacy as a way I want to live.

Rest Easy Mamba.

Perspectives

The last two weekends, I’ve been learning valuable lessons on perspectives. I’ve been doing very little talking and a whole lot of listening. I’m in a mindset now where, I know I don’t need to challenge every opinion and circumstance because I know it’s all rooted in perspective.

I been interviewing and training for a part time gig, to assure my new life resolution comes to fruition. While there I’ve met 2 people that do the same task. One person had a lot of unexpected positives. He started from his bottom and is seemingly on a career path without even knowing it. It’s nothing he planned on but he feels he’s being taken care of well and that the company is a cool place to be. Meeting him first was good because we talked about aspirations and other cool jobs that we have and had. We seemed to link on the aspect of, this job is what you make it.

The other person’s story is very dark. The pure hate and negativity he spews is not so latent and you can hear in his voice and see on his face that he should leave, but he will not. He spent a lot of time telling me how people are cheap, disrespectful and racist. He’s telling me how people speak to him and how they will eventually speak to me. He is extremely unsatisfied and wants to negotiate more “or else”.

His spiel literally had me conflicted on what I should do next. It made me question the first person and the people I had met before him. I had to take a minute on my ride home and talk to myself about everything. First, it was all about reestablishing why I am willing to take this task on. It was not for any of the deeper reasons person two had. I know what I’m signing up for and what I need to do. I’m here to do no more than that. As far as the racism allegations; I seen how he talks to people. The N-word is a hot topic. My thought is you should carry yourself in a manner where you don’t say it to or about people you wouldn’t want to hear it coming from. And if you do hear it, you make it extremely uncomfortable to be heard in your presence again. If you feel that strongly about it, you leave with that being your reason. Cause your respect for character should outweigh your respect for money.

I prayed on this. I understand that it’s nothing more than a moment in time. I understand that it’s holding a place until I get what I’m standing by for. I don’t want to give a lot of what I heard too much energy. I just want my perspective to reflect my experience. I’m going to pray again on this. I will also admit, my spirit is uneasy on this. Not just because of person number 2, but because of what I’ve been feeling internally while trying to get this to happen. On one hand, I want to make the most of this. On the other hand I feel something telling me to stay patient and not do this because you won’t be here much longer. I’m honestly not sure what hand to trust 100%.

When The Hate Inside Dies

I just let a person know that I am done hating them today. A person who I loathed for so long. A person who’s death was wanted and at one time I felt would grant me great solace. I know, I couldn’t believe I did it either. I tell you what though. It felt really good to do it. I felt some release of pressure and a regaining of power while crafting this letter and a great deal of closure when delivering it.

It’s wrong to hate and I knew that. I’ve always known that. Sometimes you get so wrapped up in the wrong that has been done to you and wanting retribution for those wrongs that you lose yourself and who you are supposed to be in the midst of the madness. I was definitely lost. My anger, fire and hatred would eat me alive and completely exhaust me.

I want to say it’s almost a year to the date when I had the conversation with my mom about this person. I told my mom, “I’m over all of this. The hating, arguing and fighting. I just can’t do it anymore. I’m going to focus on me and what matters most to me.” My mom was glad to hear me say that. Although I said it that day, I didn’t make the person aware of that. I will say when I made up in my mind that I would cease my hatred things changed. The change was within me. I became more relax, carefree and focused on my true task. The sight of this person and the sound of their voice wouldn’t ignite fury as it once did before. As I let go of more rage, hate, fury, anger and wrath, I began to see better. I also began to care less about that persons actions towards me. That gave me a sense of power. Power I don’t think I’ve felt with this person ever. That’s how I know it was the right thing to do.

This person and I won’t be friends. I’m working on 100% forgiveness, but will never ever forget the things this person made me feel. Those feelings consumed me and almost ruined my life. It’s why I’m in a state of mental repair. We’ll probably never have a relationship of trust, but God willing there will be some respect moving forward. No matter the future, I am at peace today. I have began to heal, by letting go and focusing on the things in life that really matter to me. I am empowered by slaying my internal hate and it’s beautiful.

The Lesson from Uncle Luke

Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell is the most under appreciated pioneer in hip-hop, ever! It didn’t really sink in until listening to him speak last night. I never realized that in nearly 30 years, Uncle Luke has never won anything to reflect his undeniable contribution to the hip-hop culture. It made me look at myself and I realized a valuable lesson.

No matter how good, bad or innovative you are, you may never get the true credit you deserve from the world. You could spend your prime years doing what you do, like no one else and never get the respect you truly have earned. That’s why it’s important to do what you love for the validation of you. Be the success you want to be and then help as many people as you can around you. That’s the greater reward. Being a creator of success for others.

When people speak of the south, they always name Scarface/Geto Boys, T.I, Master P and even Outkast when they talk about Kings, Legends and Pioneers of Southern Hip-Hop. Uncle Luke and 2 Live Crew were battling the Supreme Court over Freedom of Speech before any of them had a hit single or record deal. Much like today Colin Kaepernick is the pioneer of his time for expressing free speech and freedom to protest as a pro athlete. He’s not the greatest QB ever. He’s never won a Super Bowl, but his social and cultural impact is undeniable. They try to discredit and undermine his purpose and message, but it’s no denying the realness of the issues he speaks of if you just stop and make yourself aware of the world you live in.

Uncle Luke may not be a world renown and revered pioneer, but in his city and state, he is an undisputed well respected legend. The man who wanted nothing more than to be respected in hip-hop turned around and gave love and opportunity to his community. From the Miami Hurricanes athletes, to his own youth league. From Pitbull to Khaled, Trick Daddy and Rick Ross. No one of the hip-hop culture has become a success out of Miami without the love and assistance of Uncle Luke. That’s the true mark of never being a “hater” and really wanting everyone around you to win. There aren’t many people like Uncle Luke in the world, let alone hip-hop.

The principles that Uncle Luke have are definitely ones that every man and woman should live by. Be you, do you, get yours and give back. Help the next man or woman to be as great as you if not greater. Be a leader in your community. Help and encourage the youth. Don’t be fueled by accolades and acknowledgements. Understand the respect of the people is all you will ever need because they are the true mark of a great legacy. How does a pioneer of that character not get the respect he deserves? Respect to Uncle Luke.