This month’s issue of Sports Illustrated is notable because it includes a long form feature by Chris Ballard on Kobe Bryant’s return to the game this fall. The story is worth reading for its support of the growth mindset and its underlying theme of “hard work is all that matters,” whether you are a basketball fan or not.
Another reason you should read it is that it is proof that Mr. “Black Mamba” himself, Kobe Bryant, reads TC.
Some of Kobe’s favorite topics of conversation include: what Bryant read on Techcrunch the night before, the latest news on Buzzfeed and whether Katy Perry is a genius businesswoman or just a plain genius.
Since we’ve read this, we’ve been a) extremely proud and b) noodling on what on earth Kobe could have been reading the night before. From what I can tell, the meeting referred to in the article was on Bryant’s second day in China, which seems to be July 31, 2014, per evidence on social media.
So I went back into WordPress and looked at which TechCrunch posts were published between July 30-31 (Beijing is 15 hours ahead). Then I picked the stories I would click on if I were Kobe. Very scientific, I know.
Here they are in no particular order:
“Xiaomi’s One More Thing” by Matt Burns.
“Crave’s Vesper Is A Vibrator That Hides In Plain Sight” by Catherine Shu.
“Play Chef With Forage’s Twist On Restaurant Delivery” by Sarah Buhr.
“The NFL Gets Quantified Intelligence, Courtesy Of Shoulder Pad-Mounted Motion Trackers” by Darrell Etherington.
“Snapchat, In Talks With Alibaba, Joins The $10 Billion Valuation Club” by Sarah Perez.
“Founders On Depression” by Catherine Shu.
“Taptalk’s Official Response To Its Clone ‘Instagram Bolt” by Josh Constine.
Of these posts, I think Kobe was most likely to have been reading (and talking about) Matt Burns’ Xiaomi article. He was in Shanghai at the time and probably interested in how the local phone hardware market stacked up against the U.S.’s.
But, as Kobe is an entrepreneur himself, it’s likely that any ole startup’s launch post might have piqued his interest; after all, entrepreneurs of any stripe are the music makers, the dreamers of dreams:
Bryant recently cold-called Apple exec Jonathan Ive and Oprah Winfrey, among others, asking for business advice. He is curious in a manner most athletes aren’t. He wants to know how and why things work. Last year he formed Kobe Inc., hiring away creative talents he admired from companies he’d worked with. Among those Bryant idolizes—Steve Jobs and Bruce Lee, for instance—there is often a common theme. They are outsiders. They buck the system. Succeed against the odds. In their lives Bryant sees not just roadmaps but validation.
This is why I started reading TechCrunch, years ago, to learn — for free — about people who did not ask permission to build something, whether it was a company or an incredible career in tech, basketball or, even, blogging.
Succeeding against the odds is the TechCrunch way. So I hope you enjoyed Matt’s piece, Kobe. And if you ever want to speak at our Disrupt conference, as we Greeks like to say, the good people always fit — just let us know.