Personal Development

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

Expertise: Commercial Real Estate, Personal Finance, Real Estate Marketing, Business Management, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary, Mortgages & Creative Financing
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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

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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 (], 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!

Sterling is an 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 w...
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    Douglas Skipworth Rental Property Investor from Memphis, TN
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Sterling, I love that post! I found it to be very inspirational as I continue to push forward with my own real estate investing. Great insights!
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Glad you found value Douglas! Keep up the hustle.
    Embert Madison jr Attorney from Sacramento, CA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    After reading the recent post tying RE investment to the recent success of the Golden State Warriors, I’m glad to see Kobe get some love! Thanks for the insights, Mr. White!
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 4 years ago
    You are more than welcome Embert! My question to you is..Kobe or Lebron?
    Richard Myers from Biloxi, Mississippi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    People can say what they want about Kobe (and much of the negative talk you hear stems from his actions earlier on in his career), but nobody can say that Kobe ever short-changed the game. He put his all into it, and that’s why he achieved everything he did. Relentlessness, determination, passion, devotion – these are honestly the things I think of whenever I think of Kobe Bryant. It’s nice to see others acknowledge that about him as well, as opposed to all of the garbage that is typically thrown around about him.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Totally agree with you Richard. You hit the nail on the head with your above statement.
    Jordan Thibodeau Rental Property Investor from San Jose, CA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I like where you’re going with the post. But as a diehard Lakers fan, kobe was loyal to himself and forced the franchise to bend to his will (Kobe and Shaq drama, forcing coaches to appease him, and lets not forget the ball hogging). If Kobe was able to focus on longterm relationships he wouldn’t have pushed Shaq away, he would have shared the ball like Magic, Jordan, or any of the other greats which would have led the lakers to at least 3 more championships. Now if you want to replace Kobe with in Magic John or Kareem, spot on.
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I’m not going to turn this into a basketball debate but I’d just like to point out that there’s much more to the Shaq and Kobe drama than him “pushing Shaq away.” Read this ( in its entirety and you’ll see that there’s much more to the story than what is generally known. Anyway, one thing I learned from Kobe is that you have to look ahead and prepare for changes before they show up. Over the years he changed his game to mitigate the diminishing athleticism and that allowed him to remain an elite player for well over a decade.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Interesting point of view Jordan. Thank you for the perspective!