Mamba Mentality: The experience

ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 27, 2016 09:09 AM
Mamba Mentality: The experience
If you want to do exceptional things, you have to train exceptionally -- Kobe Bryant

A sense of excitement filled the air inside the locker room of the high-end Kerry Sports Hall at the posh Shangri-la Hotel at The Fort in Bonifacio Global City.

Around a dozen sports reporters from the country’s top dailies, online and TV stations chatted away while prepping up to experience the workout routine of one of the NBA’s iconic stars.

Some were busy tying their shoelaces, others putting on their jerseys. Cedelf Tupas of the Philippine Daily Inquirer was engaged in a teasing spree on TV reporter Mark Zambrano's love life while ABS-CBN Sports’ Mark Escarlote and Fox Sports Philippines’ Jerome Lagunzad talked about what time they got home after a few rounds of booze the night before.   

Nobody noticed a 6-foot-6 man walk inside the locker room followed by an entourage of videographers and photographers.   

“So are you guys ready?”

There was a moment of silence as everybody gasped for air.

Yup, they were stunned.

It took a few seconds before the group could react – barely - at the man standing in front of them.

“Whoa!” the group shouted in unison.

It was THE Kobe Bryant asking them if they're ready.

They were inside the locker room with the Black Mamba himself. 

The retired Los Angeles Lakers star walked around to give high-fives and greet the first group to experience the “Mamba Mentality Tour Manila” last Saturday.

Bryant, who played for the Lakers for 20 years before hanging his jersey last NBA season, explained briefly what he wanted the group to experience. What they were about to do once they stepped inside the basketball court.           

Yup that’s Kobe Bryant giving instructions to a bunch of sportswriting guys. 

The one that wears five championship rings. The 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player. The 18-time NBA All Star. The Los Angeles Lakers’ All-time leading scorer.

The one that made the whole arena sing ala-Broadway while waving his hands like an orchestra conductor in Nike’s fantastic commercial that ended with the famous basketball star walking out of the court.      

Definitely that’s Kobe Bryant.



“Kobe please don’t kill us.”

Sportscaster James Velasquez blurted out as the locker room echoed with laughter.

“What? No! Why would I do that?” Bryant gamely answered as he continued to talk about the routine he does every game and during training.  

(Kobe Bryant while having a light moment with the sports media inside the locker room)

He then led the group out to the court and gave a little talk about what the “Mamba Mentality” is all about.

“If you want to do exceptional things, you have to train exceptionally,” he said.

Bryant followed it up by saying, “Even you guys, to become exceptional writers you have to write stories that are exceptional.”

Who would ever thought that seasoned Filipino sports journalists will be getting an advise about writing from a man immortalized – may it be good or bad – by the media all over the world.        

“If everyone can do what you do then it's not worth f****** doing,” he added.

Mamba Mentality is a philosophy derived from Kobe’s approach to the game, and his aspirations of chasing perfection through hard work, resilience and passion in every aspect of life on and off the court

After his talk, then came the hard part.

(Select members of the media trained by Kobe Bryant himself)

Bryant explained that before he starts his training, his warmup is a 20-minute routine around the whole basketball court.  

With the help of Ateneo de Manila assistant coach Xavi Nunag, Bryant made the group do his routine in a shorter 8-minute time.

It was combination of jogging along the sideline followed by a lateral drill on the baseline, backpedal on the other sideline and another lateral before repeating the medley around the court.

Barely two minutes into the routine, the not-so-fit-as-they-wanted-to-be group started to feel the burn as sweat drips all over their body.

“Let’s go guys! Close the gap! You can do it guys! Come on guys!” was Bryant’s encouragement in between his loud claps.

At the four-minute mark, some were already huffing and puffing and breathing with their mouth open.

But they had to suck it up as video cameras pan left and right to follow the movements of the group.

Two more minutes. Another minute. Then it’s done.

Bryant clapped his hands while nodding his head as the group gathered at center court.

“I do that for 20 minutes before I start shooting,” he told the group.

One could wonder why Bryant does that kind of warmup?

Well “Mamba Mentality” could answer that: “If you want to do exceptional things, you have to train exceptionally.”  

Bryant then bid farewell to the group to attend to a different engagement.

After a short water break, Nunag called the group again, divided the group by six members and lined them up on one side of the court for the Kobe 8 routine.

The routine is composed of eight sprints up and down the court, followed by eight push-ups, eight crunches and eight mountain climbs.

“Well, there goes the alcohol from last night,” one member of the group said after finishing the Kobe 8.

Business Mirror’s Joel Orellana joked: “Buti nga yung pinagawa sa atin ‘yung kapangalan ng luma niyang number. Paano pa kung ‘yung bago?”

Thank God the group didn’t had to go that far.

Bryant on Sunday, personally trained 24 young basketballers selected from a pool of 300 in his Kobe Academy at the same venue teaching them the strength and conditioning drills inspired by his on workout. 

It was an extraordinary experience brought by an extraordinary man. 

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