Kobe Bryant has positioned himself as something of guru on success in recent years.
He speaks in the sort of platitudes and truisms you typically find in TED talks. He cold calls CEOs to get their advice. He references everyone from Giorgio Armani to Jony Ive to Mozart to describe what makes him a great player.
In an interview with GQ’s Chuck Klosterman, Kobe talked about the cost of being so enamoured with success. He says it’s impossible for him to be a “great friend” because he’s so single-minded in his focus on work and has no free time.
He says he has friends (“like minds,” as he calls them), but not the type of friends where you remember their birthdays or talk to them daily.
GQ: So how much are you willing to give up? Have you given up the possibility of having friends? Do you have any friends?
KOBE: I have “like minds.” You know, I’ve been fortunate to play in Los Angeles, where there are a lot of people like me. Actors. Musicians. Businessmen. Obsessives. People who feel like God put them on earth to do whatever it is that they do. Now, do we have time to build great relationships? Do we have time to build great friendships? No. Do we have time to socialize and to hangout aimlessly? No. Do we want to do that? No. We want to work. I enjoy working.
He later clarified: “I have friends. But being a ‘great friend’ is something I will never be. I can be a good friend. But not a great friend. A great friend will call you every day and remember your birthday. I’ll get so wrapped up in my s***, I’ll never remember that stuff.”
Kobe’s competitiveness is one of the key elements of his persona. When you think of Kobe, you think of work, and that’s how he wants it to be.
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