Sunday Musings – Table for Three with Kobe & Arianna

It was one of those newspaper articles we set aside because we wanted to do a deep read, not power scan.

To us, getting Kobe Bryant (LA Lakers star) and Arianna Huffington (writer, co-founder and editor in chief of the Huffington Post Media Group) to sit for a meal and discussion was an odd pairing.

NYT SundayStyles Feature

NYT SundayStyles Feature

Yet, when we saw how many inches of space in last week’s SundayStyles section this piece occupied, we sensed that NY Times’ Philip Galanes (the third member of this party), may have chronicled something worthwhile. So nearly a week later, we settled in and found it thoroughly enjoyable.


Turning the page – many inches to this piece.


Here are some of the things that popped out to us.

To start, they were very open about their personal hardships and triumphs. They both pointed to meditation as something that helped recharge them. And they both hit upon the crucial difference between what we do and who we are.

Kobe mentioned “the journey” and “the process.

KB: That’s what I was supposed to do. My heroes growing up, the Jordans, the Bill Russells, the Magic Johnsons, they all won multiple times. I wanted more. But it wasn’t just the result. It was the journey to get there.

PG: You like the process?

KB: I love the process. The result comes later.


He shared a story about letting go of results — learning and growing from the journey is what’s important.

KB: Let me tell you a story. My daughter just went back to school. She’s 11. She said: “Remember when I used to get nervous about math?” Her hands would get really clammy. I asked how she got over it. And she said: “I started thinking that once you take a math test, it’s done. I’m going to wake up the next day.” It may be a good day, it may be a bad one, but the cycle continues, no matter what happens on the math test.

PG: So being great in the clutch means knowing there’s a moment after the clutch?

KB: There’s an infinite groove. Whether you make the shot or miss it is inconsequential.

AH: You can learn and grow from the journey, no matter what happens.


Talkin’ Meditation:

There was an interesting exchange of thoughts regarding meditation.

PG: Speaking of breaking things down, I noticed, reading “Thrive,” that the pillars of wellness must be second nature to athletes, who are all about peak performance. You meditate?

AH: Every day.

KB: [N.B.A. coach] Phil Jackson introduced me to it. When I was 18, Michael Jackson tried to get me to meditate. He could sit in meditation for seven hours. But I couldn’t sit still for 20 minutes.

PG: Michael Jackson?

KB: Yeah. “Thriller” Michael Jackson.

PG: When did Phil Jackson come along?

KB: His first season with the Lakers was when I was 21. And I dived right into meditation. I always knew the game carried a deeper meaning, more than X’s and O’s and strategy.

AH: Phil Jackson was a pioneer bringing this into sports. He helped give meditation, and other ways to renew ourselves, a legitimacy for businesspeople and macho guys, who tended to identify it with New Age-y, flaky stuff. Suddenly, meditation became performance enhancement, as well as part of the journey of discovery.

Note: We have some thoughts on how to incorporate meditation into your daily life in a more active way. Watch for Jedemi ASWI posts on the subject.


The mention of a Showtime documentary called “Kobe’s Muse” got our attention. Check out how he describes the vision.

KB: You’ll see all the things I do, on and off the court. Every little detail, every tidbit, every improvement. And from that, we peel back the layers to get to who I am — because you can’t understand what I do without understanding who I am.


KB: That’s the vision. I’m the first “Kobe’s Muse,” then we’ll build it out. I want to know how Arianna became Arianna. I had this conversation with Hilary Swank once, and I asked about acting. And she broke down her process all the way to what would the character be watching on TV, what music would she listen to, how much money in her purse, how much change. I’m so interested in all those details.

AH: People want to know those things.

PG: As a lens for understanding each other?

This is where he describes the power of the adjacent possible.

KB: …When you watch me shoot my fadeaway jumper, you’ll notice my leg is always extended. I had problems making that shot in the past. It’s tough. So one day I’m watching the Discovery Channel and see a cheetah hunting. When the cheetah runs, its tail always gives it balance, even if it’s cutting a sharp angle. And that’s when I was like: My leg could be the tail, right?

AH: That’s amazing.

KB: Inspiration surrounds us.

Yes indeed, inspiration does surround us. It is up to us to put ourselves in the state of mind (body and spirit) to be open to the messages that are out there for us — messages which can influence what direction we take on our journey.

Carpe moment!

-The Gang




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