Debbie Larry – Izamoje: Business Lessons from Kobe Bryant

Debbie Larry-Izamoje

I grew up learning about Kobe from my classmates. If we tried to throw a bottle or paper from a distance into the bin and successfully did so, everyone shouted “Kobe”!. The boys are the school’s basketball court loved to copy his mannerisms. He had a way of biting the top of his jersey when frustrated, there was also a hand gesture he did many times that I can’t quite put into words. If anyone bought a jersey then, it was definitely a Lakers jersey. Loving Kobe was effortless as kids and you didn’t have to watch basketball to know that this man was on his way to greatness or greatness personified.

I heard of his 81-point masterpiece in 2006, as I look back I can’t remember why I missed that game but I do know that everyone referred to my generation as being lucky enough to witness this great man. They would often tell us that this; “there will never be another Kobe”. You see when people say such things you never really think of the death, it never crosses your mind that this person might die in a helicopter crash at 41 years, with his baby girl Gigi on board. You don’t think of the tears and just how final death is. At that moment you don’t even consider the impact someone else’s life has had on yours, someone you are yet to meet.
I figured today, in my disbelief and shock, that it is only right to shed light on what Kobe meant to us and the lessons we can learn as business people.

It is said that our generation prioritizes work over family. I have never really understood the concept of overworking yourself to make money, only to never have time to use the money you’ve worked so hard for. I have also believed that some things cannot be bought with money. What price can we put on our families? On memories shared with friends? These moments are so priceless and it was evident that Kobe understood this. His social media pages are full of images of his moments with family. He was very close to his daughters who he referred to as princesses and often-followed Gigi for basketball practice. You must make some time for those who love you, life is so short. live a little. Ensure those close to you know how much you love them. Close early on some days just to join in on that evening chat with family. When all is said and done, it’s the memories that count.

When I think of Kobe, I think impact. Isn’t it crazy that the world stood still at the news of his demise? That people that had never even seen a game of Basketball were in tears? That in under 3 hours there were over 10 million tweets on Kobe’s death?
You see, impact is not what you do to earn money, it’s about the lives you touch daily. It is about empathy, the times you let things go even when you know you should pick a fight. It is about using your skill to bless people who would’ve never had access to it. Helping your neighbours open the gate while they drive-in, being generous to those in need, visiting the sick, giving to wise counsel to people, that is what you call impact. How good of a person are you outside and inside the work environment? Do people love you for your productivity or character? These are questions we must start to ask ourselves.


Kobe knew that with retirement he had to invest in money in multiple sources. He was very intentional about his transition from basketball to entrepreneur and business model. He found mentorship in billionaire businessman, Chris Sacca, to whom he indicated interest in one day investing in basketball and owning a club. He won an Oscar as a producer, wrote several books and launched a media company. It’s important to do what you love, but ensure that like Kobe you also have an exit plan or strategy especially in the years leading to your retirement. Save money, spend wisely and invest in appreciating assets.

20 seasons, 18 NBA All-star games, 5 NBA Titles, 2 Olympic Golds, 2 Finals MVP….Not bad Champ! Rest In Peace Kobe Bryant.


Debbie Larry-Izamoje AKA The Entrepreneur’s Best-Friend, is the founder of Email : or
Instagram: @imageboosters_ Phone No (text only) : 08050464111