user icon
user icon

Column: The Mamba Mentality that unites Kobe Bryant and Michael Schumacher

  • Published on 29 Jan 2020 12:12
  • comments 7
  • By: Bjorn Smit

The world lost a sports legend on Sunday, as basketball player Kobe Bryant, along with daughter Gianna and seven other passengers, died in a tragic helicopter accident. He was only 41 years old.

Bryant is one of the best and most successful basketball players of all time. His death hurts, both in the sports world and with this author. Black Mamba was the reason that I started fanatically following the NBA and will therefore always be synonymous to the largest basketball competition in the world.

You may be wondering why on a motorsport website, a column is dedicated to a basketball player. The reason is simple: Bryant reminds me of one of the most successful Formula 1 drivers of all time - Michael Schumacher.

You can't deny that Bryant and Schumacher, after their glorious careers, had a tragic accident that determined their fate. Bryant's situation is described above; he sadly died in a helicopter crash. The situation of Schumacher is also known. It is unclear how he is doing after the accident while skiing in France, but we do know that he is still alive.

It would be great if we ever see Schumacher again on the circuit, so that he can encourage his son Mick in his pursuit of success.

That brings me to the second connecting factor between Kobe and Michael. They both have a child who is enormously talented in the sport they practice themselves.

Mick is on his way to follow Michael in Formula 1. He is part of Ferrari's Driver Academy and is racing in Formula 2, but unfortunately has not got his father by his side to support him. For Gianna 'Gigi' Bryant, she cannot achieve her dream of reaching the WNBA (the American basketball competition for women). By Kobe's side, she was also killed in the fatal crash while en route to a tournament for young basketball players.

Gigi had the Mamba Mentality from her father. And it was clear that they spent many hours together in the gym, as this clip shows.

Who taught these moves to Mambacita? The Black Mamba shows how it’s done, with tight defence from LeBron James.


Although Bryant and Schumacher were both sometimes involved in controversies, they will mainly be remembered as sporting heroes, with the table below of prizes and successes speaking for itself.

Kobe Bryant Michael Schumacher
5x NBA champion 7x F1 world champion
2x NBA Finals MVP 91 victories
1x NBA Most Valuable Player 155 podium finishes
18x NBA All-Star 1566 points
4x NBA All-Star Game MVP 68 pole positions
11x All-NBA First Team 77 fastest laps
2x All-NBA Second Team 1x German F3 champion
2x All-NBA Third Team 1x champion Formula König
9x NBA All-Defensive First Team 1x Macau Grand Prix winner
3x NBA All-Defensive Second Team  
2x NBA Top scorer  
2x Olympic gold


They both largely owed their success to two factors. On the one hand, Bryant and Schumacher were among the right team to achieve successes, but their enthusiasm for work and their enormous will to win have undoubtedly contributed to the successes achieved. It is known that Schumacher used to take a mobile gym to the circuits so that he could work on his fitness during the grand prix weekend.

Kobe was also an incredible training animal. A trainer from the United States national basketball team was called by Bryant for additional training for the Olympic Games. The time: 4.15 AM. The individual training started at 5 AM, after Kobe had already done some exercises on his own: first an hour of conditioning, then an hour of strength training. The trainer left the facility at 7 AM, but Kobe stayed to practice shooting. When the trainer returned at 11 AM, Kobe was still there. He had not left the gym, after which he joined the team's training.

That is the core of Mamba Mentality: the iron will to want to win, to put everything aside for that, and also to work hard to get it done. Of course, they were also blessed with a healthy dose of talent.

Their mentality and talent sometimes made the impossible possible. Schumacher, who finishes the Spanish Grand Prix in fifth gear and nevertheless comes home in second. The incredible rain race that he drove at the same track in 1996. Ditto for Kobe: 81 points against the Toronto Raptors on January 22, 2006, the second-highest score for an individual player ever in the NBA. Or his farewell match in April 2016: 60 points, the highest number of points that someone scored in that season.

Schumacher and Bryant are part of a relatively small group of athletes who could achieve more than seemed possible. For Kobe, he also wants to be reminded that way: "I want to be remembered as a talented overachiever." He succeeded.

Thank you for the memories, Black Mamba. Keep Fighting, Michael.

Replies (7)

Login to reply
  • In terms of success and work ethic I can see the comparisons. But as individuals, I think they were quite different. Kobe was a very public person. He wasn't obsessed with privacy like Michael. Kobe was still visibly and deeply involved with the sport he loved. He was also very public with some of his ventures after basketball. I mean the man won an Oscar!

    Quite frankly, I think the only thing that comes close or is truly comparable to what Kobe represented for the sport and his legacy as an athlete is Ayrton Senna.

    • + 0
    • Jan 29 2020 - 00:49
  • Seriously? Quite a lame comparison iMO. Agree with AJPP. I think HAM comes closer to rising up to the same level as Kobe. Yes, I know I'm gonna catch shade for that comment. But like Kobe was for basketball (with the possible exception of Michael Jordon), HAM may just be the GOAT of F1.

    • + 0
    • Jan 29 2020 - 11:16
    • Manto02

      Posts: 61

      It's hard to determine the GOAT of F1, there are too many factors involved.
      But what MSC did was setting a new standard of drivers in f1, he was almost obsessed with training his body to reach the perfect form to be 100% in the car. Michael lived f1 and could push the car to the limit beyond anybody else.

      • + 1
      • Jan 29 2020 - 13:39
  • f1ski

    Posts: 611

    Lame article.

    • + 2
    • Jan 29 2020 - 17:54
  • Lame article indeed - MSC was so radical using a mobile gym in the 90s - laughable, Navratilova was doing that years before - hardly cutting edge. MSC took cheating to a new level, that I will give him.

    • + 0
    • Jan 29 2020 - 22:42
    • Harsh, but technically factually accurate. I consider Schumacher one of the greats. A legend of F1. But Kobe Bryant was a global superstar and celebrity. People that didn't watch the NBA knew who he was. He was very public. Regularly doing shows. He had a global brand promote by Nike. He was a cultural icon. Michael "just" a Formula 1 superstar. Maybe you could say that Michael was to Germany was Kobe was and is to the rest of the world. Michael's obsession with extreme privacy would have never allowed him to reach the global icon status that Kobe did. Not even close.

      • + 0
      • Jan 30 2020 - 01:25
  • I must admit I know very little about Basketball, so while I know of him and know of his achievements it's hard to tell the kinda impact Bryant had on his sport. Schumacher, however, was a driver who changed the very way a driver interacted with it's team. He built Ferrari around him and laid the ground for the modern F1 workout regimes, and while he mostly won from dominant cars he could win with 2nd best ones too. So if Bryant had a similar impact, I think the comparison is fair. I don't necessarily think drama or publicity has to be a factor in the comparison.

    • + 0
    • Jan 30 2020 - 18:25

AT Grand Prix of Austria

Local time 

  • Friday weather-image

    Saturday weather-image

    Sunday weather-image

  • Free practice 1

    11:00 - 12:30

    Free practice 3

    12:00 - 13:00

    Race

    15:10 - 17:10

  • Free practice 2

    15:00 - 16:30

    Qualifying

    15:00 - 16:00

    Fastest lap

     

AT Grand Prix of Austria

Local time 

  • Fridayweather-image

  • Free practice 1

    11:00 - 12:30

    Free practice 2

    15:00 - 16:30

  • Saturdayweather-image

  • Free practice 3

    12:00 - 13:00

    Qualifying

    15:00 - 16:00

  • Sunday weather-image

  • Race

    15:10 - 17:10

    Fastest lap

    15:10 - 17:10

Related news

Test calendar

Circuit de Catalunya - Winter testing

Circuit de Catalunya - Winter testing

See full test schedule

Give your opinion!

Where will Sebastian Vettel be in 2021?

World Championship standings 2019

Show full world champion standings

Formula 1 Calendar - 2020

Date
Grand Prix
Circuit
-
Spain
-
Spain
13 - Mar 15
Australia
20 - Mar 22
Bahrain
3 - Apr 5
Viet Nam
17 - Apr 19
China
1 - May 3
Netherlands
8 - May 10
Spain
21 - May 24
Monaco
5 - Jun 7
Azerbaijan
12 - Jun 14
Canada
26 - Jun 28
France
3 - Jul 5
Austria
17 - Jul 19
United Kingdom
31 - Aug 2
Hungary
28 - Aug 30
Belgium
4 - Sep 6
Italy
18 - Sep 20
Singapore
25 - Sep 27
Russian
9 - Oct 11
Japan
23 - Oct 25
United States of America
30 - Nov 1
Mexico
13 - Nov 15
Brazil
27 - Nov 29
United Arab Emirates
See full schedule

Formula 1 Calendar - 2020

Date
Grand Prix & Circuit
13 - Mar 15
Australia Albert Park
20 - Mar 22
3 - Apr 5
Viet Nam Hanoi Circuit
17 - Apr 19
1 - May 3
Netherlands Circuit Zandvoort
8 - May 10
21 - May 24
Monaco Monte Carlo
5 - Jun 7
Azerbaijan Baku City Circuit
12 - Jun 14
26 - Jun 28
France Paul Ricard
3 - Jul 5
Austria Red Bull Ring
17 - Jul 19
United Kingdom Silverstone
31 - Aug 2
Hungary Hungaroring
28 - Aug 30
4 - Sep 6
Italy Monza
18 - Sep 20
25 - Sep 27
Russian Sochi Autodrom
9 - Oct 11
23 - Oct 25
United States of America Circuit of the Americas
30 - Nov 1
13 - Nov 15
Brazil Interlagos
27 - Nov 29
United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit
See full schedule
show sidebar