The Black Mamba penned a letter to the 17-year-old Kobe Bryant, warning himself to invest in his friends and family’s futures, instead of giving them money.
Bryant talked about how his close friends and family became obsessed with material wealth. He didn’t realize the grave mistake he was making at the time, giving his loved ones money. Instead of helping them, he was in fact, holding them back.
“You will come to understand that you were taking care of them because it made YOU feel good, it made YOU happy to see them smiling and without a care in the world — and that was extremely selfish of you. While you were feeling satisfied with yourself, you were slowly eating away at their own dreams and ambitions. You were adding material things to their lives, but subtracting the most precious gifts of all: independence and growth.”
Kobe has had a sour relationship with his parents since they tried to profit off of selling memorabilia without his permission, which ended in a lawsuit in 2013. Bryant currently doesn’t have a talking relationship with his parents. In the letter he says, “The most important advice I can give to you is to make sure your parents remain PARENTS and not managers.”
In an interview with ESPN, the five time champion said he had to cut off his siblings Sharia and Shaya, to allow them to find their own paths.
Bean ends the letter with “setting things up right from the beginning will avoid a ton of tears and heartache” referencing his since changed relationships with the ones closest to him.”
Read the whole letter on The Players’ Tribune here.