Kobe Bryant seems to have more time to think, now that he’s retired from the NBA.
The Lakers legend has come up with some advice to offer a younger version of himself on the brink of signing his first contract back in 1996 — and he shared it Wednesday in a piece he wrote for the Players’ Tribune.
“Dear 17-year-old self,” Bryant began. “When your Laker dream comes true tomorrow, you need to figure out a way to invest in the future of your family and friends. This sounds simple, and you may think it’s a no-brainer, but take some time to think on it further.
“I said INVEST.
“I did not say GIVE.”
Bryant explains that buying material things for loved ones really doesn’t benefit anyone.
“You will come to understand that you were taking care of them because it made YOU feel good, it made YOU happy to see them smiling and without a care in the world — and that was extremely selfish of you,” Bryant wrote.
“While you were feeling satisfied with yourself, you were slowly eating away at their own dreams and ambitions. You were adding material things to their lives, but subtracting the most precious gifts of all: independence and growth.”
He added: “Use your success, wealth and influence to put them in the best position to realize their own dreams and find their true purpose. Put them through school, set them up with job interviews and help them become leaders in their own right. Hold them to the same level of hard work and dedication that it took for you to get to where you are now, and where you will eventually go.
“I’m writing you now so that you can begin this process immediately, and so that you don’t have to deal with the hurt and struggle of weaning them off of the addiction that you facilitated. That addiction only leads to anger, resentment and jealousy from everybody involved, including yourself.
“As time goes on, you will see them grow independently and have their own ambitions and their own lives, and your relationship with all of them will be much better as a result.”
Sounds like Bryant might have learned these lessons the hard way.