3 Lessons Real Estate Investors Can Take From Legendary NBA Star Kobe Bryant

3 Lessons Real Estate Investors Can Take From Legendary NBA Star Kobe Bryant

3 min read
Sterling White

Sterling White is a multifamily investor, specializing in value-add apartments in Indianapolis and other Midwestern markets. With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling was involved with the management of over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $18.9MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments. Through the company he founded, Sonder Investment Group, he owns just under 400 units.

Sterling is a seasoned real estate investor, philanthropist, speaker, host, mentor, and former world record attemptee, who was born and raised in Indianapolis. He is the author of the renowned book From Zero to 400 Units and the host of a phenomenal podcast, which hit the No. 1 spot on The Real Estate Experience Podcast‘s list of best shows in the investing category.

Living and breathing real estate since 2009, Sterling currently owns multiple businesses related to real estate, including Sterling White Enterprises, Sonder Investment Group, and other investment partnerships. Throughout the span of a decade, he has contributed to helping others become successful in the real estate industry. In addition, he has been directly involved with both buying and selling over 100 single family homes.

Sterling’s primary specialities include sales, marketing, crowdfunding, buy and hold investing, investment properties, and many more.

He was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast episode #308 and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single family investing and apartment investing to mindset and scaling a business online. He has been featured on multiple other podcasts, too.

When he isn’t immersed in the real world, Sterling likes reading motivational books, including Maverick Mindset by Doug Hall, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, and Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone.

As a thrill-seeker with an evident fear of heights, he somehow managed to jump off of a 65-foot cliff into deep water without flinching. (Okay, maybe a little bit…) Sterling is also an avid kale-eating traveller, but nothing is more important to him than family. His unusual habit is bird-watching, which he discovered he truly enjoyed during an Ornithology class from his college days.

Sterling attended the University of Indianapolis.

Instagram @sterlingwhiteofficial

Read More

Join for free and get unlimited access, free digital downloads, and tools to analyze real estate.

How do you want people to think of you? What impact should that have on your daily decisions now?

Kobe Bryant is one of the best known athletes of all time. In addition to earning countless NBA awards, Kobe scored two gold Olympic medals. Even after retiring from basketball, he will continue to be a household name and influencer. What can real estate investors take away from his life, business game, and mindset to achieve their own goals?

Plan for a Long, Strategic Game

“These young guys are playing checkers. I’m out there playing chess.” — Kobe Bryant

Both professional sports careers and investing in real estate are long games. There may be sprints, intermittent tournaments, and different seasons, but the picture is far larger than any single game or deal.

Related: Steph Curry Shoots ‘Til He Makes 500 3-Pointers Every Day: Here’s the Crucial Lesson That Teaches Us

One of the biggest mistakes that real estate investors make is only having a five-year plan. That’s a plan for disaster. If you still want to be successful in 20 years (or after you are gone), get a 100-year plan!


Remain Loyal & Build Long-Term Relationships

Staying loyal and building long-term relationships is crucial for winning the long game. Kobe stayed with the LA Lakers his entire career. That is virtually unheard of across all sports. Most players are just rushing off to the next team that looks like it could help them look better for that season or who offers them a little more money. Or teams trade players if they have a poor season, suffer from a secret injury, or if the team needs to save a few bucks. Being loyal and developing those relationships, even when you don’t technically owe the other person or company anything, is going to make a huge difference. If you want uncommon results, you have to take an uncommon approach.

Keep Constant Focus

Kobe Bryant is human like anyone else. He admitted to having self-doubt and even to feeling the effects of age on his game. Yet he was intensely focused on the game, on winning championships, and chose a perspective that constantly drove him forward in spite of it all.

That’s not to say that Kobe didn’t mess up. He almost destroyed his career and had complications in his personal life. All it takes is one moment of weakness to throw your entire future away — and to instantly change a lifetime of good by only being remembered for a single bad deed.

Investing in real estate is a privilege. It’s not a right. Thousands have thrown that away by losing focus of the purpose and have gone broke or gone to jail. There is a lot of temptation to take shortcuts out there. To avoid those traps, it is vital to remember your biggest goals, how you want to be remembered, that you can’t afford to slip up for a minute, and to stay actively vigilant. Aside from reviewing your goals daily and surrounding yourself with the right people and environment, one of the best ways to do that is with accountability partners.


Related: 3 Survival Lessons Real Estate Investors Can Take From Jason Bourne


Today, Kobe is best known as a major philanthropist who is an ambassador for after school programs and has given $1M to help veterans. And it is worth noting that some of his best plays and most notable awards came after his slip up. So no matter where you are in your game today, there can be a bigger, brighter future ahead.

To achieve that and hold onto it, I believe that people should be making decisions based upon the long-term plan, not short-term profit. This always goes back to creating more value than you take in a business relationship — or in any relationship, for that matter.

At the end of the day, everyone has their own personal brand. So the question is, what do you want people to feel when they think of you? How are you going to achieve that?

[Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr: Kobe Bryant) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.]

What have you learned from Kobe’s legendary career? Do you apply these three lessons to your business endeavors?

Let me know with a comment!