Kobe Bryant at age 11 guarding a large man in an exhibition game in Italy.
“There are certain kinds of people that are purely driven. I can tell who they are simply by looking at them. I have faced so much criticism for my drive that at times it has alienated me from the majority: the people who are comfortable with second place, the people who hate against me because I am not. You know these kinds of people; they are the ones who fear winning, the jealous ones who envy and try to sabotage. They are the people who have been telling me I couldn’t win all my life. Many times my drive to succeed has put me on an island all by myself because no one understood me, or they chose to misunderstand me. They chose to portray me as being something that I was not. I have learned that it is OK for me to be me, and what being me entails. It means that I will not rest; I will not sleep, relax, relent or be satisfied until my goals have been met, the challenges answered and my doubters silenced. I will not give in to my foes; I won’t let down my teammates. I won’t stop inspiring those who look up to me or stop giving motivation to those who motivate me. I will not back off until I’m back on top, back in the place where they say I could never be again.” — Kobe Bryant