Kobe Bryant scored 60 points in his final game in the NBA. A storybook ending to a legendary career.

Of course there are still the haters who focused on his 50 shot attempts, but this game was about Bryant, not the Los Angeles Lakers so it’s a null point. Many fans wonder what Bryant will do after retiring from professional basketball.

Play overseas? Have the itch to return in the future? Disappear from the limelight?

Bryant’s response to the question, “What will you do tomorrow?” was telling: “workout then go to work.” Bryant has thought about life after basketball for a while now. Once his body couldn’t take the beating anymore, his focus turned towards pursuing greatness off the court. Here is why Kobe Bryant will increase his impact post-professional athlete:

Bryant is a lifelong learner. Listen to what motivates him: a hunger to know more. Whether attending college courses on road trips to contacting successful entrepreneurs for advice, Bryant has built his brand over time methodically. Robert Horry shared Bryant would add a new piece to his game each offseason which tells you Bryant never accepts complacency. He doesn’t only strive to achieve; he simply enjoys the process of learning as a whole. Just like he wasn’t afraid to ask Michael Jordan for his secrets, he’s not too proud to call upon mavens in the business world to become better.

The love and respect Bryant earned from his peers attribute to his work ethic. His maniacal pursuit of championships bordered psychotic, yet few could match his dominant will. Bryant didn’t need the approval or friendship of teammates and opponents, instead while they were resting, he was working. This same type of drive will translate to success off the court because he’s a finisher and not afraid of failure. Most people are stifled by fear, but the same way Bryant wasn’t concerned about his shooting percentage, he won’t let doubt stop him from trying. Success in sports and the corporate world both require a strong mindset. You have to be a bit crazy to achieve greatness. Bryant will leave no stone unturned during his quest for global impact.

His worldwide footprint may be the strongest evidence moving forward. Look no further than his fan base in China. What other athlete can answer questions in three different languages consistently? The 2008 Olympics reinforced his global brand, even fellow teammates like LeBron James were blown away by Bryant’s fan-crazed popularity. Bryant has been deliberate making summer trips to China and relating to fans overseas by his work ethic, footwork and attention to detail. Kobe Inc. is aimed to influence the world as the likes of Nike, Apple and Disney. Bryant may have hinted his direction by mentioning his obsession with storytelling. We may not be able to predict what Bryant will do, but it will be monumental.

What separated Kobe Bryant from the rest of the NBA was his basketball mind. He gravitated towards teammates Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher and Head Coach Phil Jackson because of their thought process. The case can be made that if Bryant never played in the NBA, he’d still be extremely successful in his career. Just like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan before him, Bryant’s next chapter may be better than his last.

Although hard to fathom, Bryant is prepared to strike and when he does, watch out.

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Author, blogger, speaker & die-hard Lakers fan

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