The late Kobe Bryant’s ferocious drive and competitiveness, the Mamba Mentality, greatly influenced the current generation of elite athlete. That was obvious Sunday night when two pivotal players in Super Bowl 55 made separate references to a Bryant quote about not being satisfied until a championship is won.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Buccaneers pass-rusher Jason Pierre-Paul each pointed to something Bryant told a reporter after Game 2 of the 2009 NBA Finals between the Lakers and Magic.
For context, here’s what Bryant said when he was asked why he wasn’t smiling after LA had taken a 2-0 series lead: “The job’s not finished . . . job’s not done,” Bryant said. The Lakers went on to win the series in five games.
The Bryant quote became a part of the 2020 NBA Finals when the Lakers were playing the Heat. LA won that series in six.
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Mahomes’ reference following the Chiefs’ victory over the Bills in the AFC championship game was part of a larger acknowledgement of/tribute to Bryant, who died one year ago Tuesday in a helicopter crash in California.
Pierre-Paul made reference to the Bryant quote in an interview with NFL Network’s Joe Thomas after the Bucs defeated the Packers in the NFC title game. (Jump to 2:00 for what JPP said.)
Both players already have Super Bowl rings: Mahomes won his last year with the Chiefs and Pierre-Paul received one with the Giants in the 2011 season. They want another one Feb. 7 in Tampa, and they’re ready to get to work on it.