The loss of Kobe Bryant shocked the world. As a longtime basketball fan, fellow father of four daughters, and admirer of his work ethic and business acumen, I was deeply shaken when I heard the news of the horrific tragedy. Just 18 days before the helicopter crash that killed nine people including Kobe and his daughter Gianna, I published the first of these 2-Minute Drill columns leading with our commitment to the “Mamba mentality” at Vcheck Global. It did not take long for me to realize how important it would be to memorialize his legacy and continue our focus on the Mamba mentality.
I love basketball and I grew up watching Kobe, trying to emulate his moves on the court. As some of my friends and colleagues can attest to, I was not very good at recreating classic Kobe moves. Over time, I realized that there is a lot that could be learned from Kobe both on and off the court. Ever since I started in business, I’ve had a Kobe bobblehead on my desk for six years as a reminder of what he represented to me—being a good person, a devoted father, a relentless basketball player, and a savvy businessman. He overcame ups and downs, which every human experiences, and I think that’s why so Kobe’s story resonates with so many people in Los Angeles and around the world.
Whatever Kobe did, he did to his fullest. I admire what he was doing for the WNBA and the efforts he was making with his daughter Gianna (nicknamed Gigi), which he said helped him rekindle his love of basketball after leaving the sport behind. “Before Gigi got into basketball, I hardly watched, but now that she’s into basketball, we watch every night,” he said during the Showtime basketball podcast All the Smoke. Some of you may not know this, but Kobe was working to make WNBA player compensation comparable to what NBA players have made. To date, it’s not even close. As a father of daughters, I recognize the value of Kobe’s effort to make sure women in the workforce have just as much of an opportunity to be successful as men.
On the day of the crash, I knew I had to do something to show just how much Kobe’s story affected us all at Vcheck Global. Soon after, I came up with the idea to create an award for the employee who embodies the Mamba mentality—the Mamba award. The winner would be selected by a vote of his or her peers. We had our first vote in February and announced the winner of the inaugural Mamba award on March 3: Edgar Navarro.
I’ve known Edgar for about four and half years. Since day one, Edgar has had the Mamba mentality. He and I always got along because we have the same mentality of, “Let’s get it done. Whatever it takes. We’ll figure it out.” The word “no” was never really in Edgar’s vocabulary. The reason why Edgar won the inaugural Mamba award is because his peers recognized him as someone who goes above and beyond for them when he is tasked.
To the rest of the team—if you don’t bring the Mamba mentality next month, you’re not going to win.