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Kobe Bryant and the ‘ugliness of greatness’

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant believes you can count on “three fingers, maybe” the number of NBA players in the game now who burn with the same intensity he does.

Identifying kindred spirits is a pastime of his. He uses the Twitter hashtag #differentanimalSamebeast to point out leaders with an insatiable drive to win.

Bryant felt strong camaraderie last January when he saw the victory rant of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. He finds similar examples in Michael Jordan’s score-settling Hall of Fame induction speech, and in Johnny Manziel, a Texas A&M quarterback drafted by the Cleve­­land Browns this year after his mercurial behavior dropped him down in the picks.

“So when you see Sherman let it out, that’s been inside him from Day One,” Bryant says. “This is why he’s the best at what he does, because that’s how he feels.”

 “That was the ugliness of greatness. That’s what that is to me,” Bryant says.

— Adapted from “The Fourth Quarter,” Ben McGrath, The New Yorker.

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