Kobe Bryant’s Championship Mindset + Motivation from NBA Greats

It’s chilly outside this Friday. Prime weather for staying in and doing some creative work. In that spirit we bring you motivation from some of the NBA’s most legendary figures. Two of the best players in history: Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant along with Phil Jackson the head coach who guided both of these legends to numerous championships. Whether or not your chosen field can end with a championship ring, it requires a championship mindset. Let’s take a glimpse into these championship mindsets.


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Practice. Practice. Practice

Michael Jordan is universally regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time. For years basketball enthusiasts have studied him. Watching every game. Conducting hundreds of interviews. Trying to piece together his process of reaching that point. From Jordan’s perspective, the process was simple. He practiced. A lot.

“Everyday in practice was a competition, so when the game comes there’s nothing I haven’t already practiced. It’s a routine.” – Michael Jordan.

What is the core idea behind practicing? Why would Jordan continuously practice dribbling after winning five championship rings? Why would a producer practice mixdowns after they’ve released dozens of tracks?

Practice stems from the idea of CONTROL. 

When someone is practicing they are in control, and the more they practice the more prepared they are for what they can’t control. Jordan knew he couldn’t control what happens in the game, but he could control his practice, and he ended up winning most of his games.  

Can you control if you get booked for your dream gig? Can you control the trends of the music industry that will see your chosen genre fade into background? No. But you can prepare for these moments, and when the time comes, you’re ready for gameday .

Building Mental Strength with Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson is the most decorated head coach in the history of professional sports with 11 championship rings. Jackson is also a Zen Buddhist, and a cornerstone of his coaching style was preparing his players mentally as well as physically. As Jackson told Oprah during her interview series Super Soul Sunday, one of his goals on the court was to:

“Get the spirit back into things.”

If someone has been pursuing any discipline for a while, they’ve repeated certain aspects of their field thousands of times. 

  • NBA players have shot thousands of free throws. 
  • Professional producers have EQ’d thousands of kick drums. 

How do you prevent these things from becoming boring? How do you get the spirit back into them? Make play of your practice. Take “play” seriously. The beautiful thing about music is, there is no risk, no game on the line.  Make a game of your process. Keep it fresh. There are an infinite amount of ways to write a song.  Find peace that you will never know it all and to let your process be just that, a process. 

Kobe Bryant on Sleep and Meditation

Thrive Global is an initiative started by the entrepreneur Ariana Huffington to help “individuals, companies and communities improve their well-being and performance and unlock their greatest potential.” Thrive Global taps notable figures and celebrities across a variety of specialties under this purpose, one of whom was the late legend, Kobe Bryant.

Kobe’s contribution to Thrive Global’s mission centers on two key points:

  1. Get an extra 30 mins of sleep a night. – “I was feeling lethargic and I knew it wasn’t my training.” – Kobe Bryant

In the early stages of his career, Kobe says he barely got any sleep. As a result, during games he couldn’t execute proper technique despite how much he practiced, and he practiced a lot. Like a lot a lot.  

If an artist doesn’t sleep before a gig how do you think they will perform? If an artist is so tired they can barely keep their eyes open how do you think their creativity will flow?

  1. 5 minutes of meditation every morning. – “You get a chance to observe the self. Things that may be lying beneath the surface.” – Kobe Bryant

Catching your own mental patterns puts you in the driver’s seat. Taking 5 minutes in the morning to ground yourself and taking on the day proactively instead of reactively. 

About Icon Collective

ICON Collective is a Los Angeles and Online music production school that teaches you core technical skills while unlocking your unique creative process. Mentorships with industry professionals let you access real-world insights and help you personalize your music education. Check out our Music Production Programs.


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