Alex Rodriguez and Big Cat Interview Kobe Bryant (2018)

The A-Rod/Big Cat interview of Kobe is the best Kobe interview I’ve seen.

It’s the best for a couple of reasons:

First, Kobe is a lot more open with another elite athlete (A-Rod) in the room (because it’s someone who’s been at Kobe’s level).

Second, Big Cat earns Kobe’s respect with his sports knowledge.

My theory is that since Kobe is looking at Both A-Rod and Big Cat as among the best at what they do, he opens up more.

The interview takes place in Kobe’s Newport Beach, California offices. It’s cool to see what pictures Kobe has up (Walt Disney, Oprha, Steve Jobs, an unknown woman and Michael Jackson).

Thanks to fellow Kobe fan David Senra for pointing this out on Founders Podcast.

Watch “Alex Rodriguez and Big Cat Interview Kobe Bryant”

Note: I start the video embed above at 5:04 because that’s when the actual interview with Kobe starts (there is an ad and debrief in the first 5 min.)

You can stream the A-Rod/Kobe interview for free by clicking on YouTube embed above or at (this link starts at 5:04 to jump right into the interview).


There are some great Kobe quotes and stories (including from A-Rod).

Here are my favorites:

On Sports vs. Business

Kobe: “[In business] I’m more of a GM position rather than a player [in basketball]”

On Characteristics Kobe Team Member for Business


“The most important thing is curiosity first…I want people who ask questions…that want to…figure out new ways to do things…and then from that curiosity, having a determination to see that curiosity through to figure out those steps [to get something done].”

Does Kobe love business as much as basketball?

Kobe: “One hundred percent true…”

Practicing Business While Still A Pro Athlete

Kobe says that people used to wonder what he (when still in the NBA) was reading on the plane.


“I’m reading JosephCampbell and how to create arts compelling arcs and plots. I’m reading that stuff so this is going back fifteen
years right. So I don’t just retire, write “Dear Basketball”, and get lucky winning an Oscar…stuff comes from hard work and from studying for 15 years how to write and how to organize structure right and you can’t do that without having a serious love or commitment to the craft.”


“Kobe and I have so much in common. …one of the things…is we (while still pros) would show up at universities — he’d show up at Duke…I took classes at Columbia Business School, Miami Business School and people are like why aren’t you in a yacht why aren’t you in vacation?….I’m practicing. I am getting ready. I don’t know when they’re gonna kick me out of this [Major League Baseball]. And at the same time is not just about moving forward but also it’s about having fun. I agree with Kobe that I sometimes forget that I played …the major leagues… for 23 years…because I’m so excited in the moment.”

Kobe (on same subject):

Yeah, that sounds really weird to people, right? You know like I remember…I told somebody I said listen if what I do in the next 20 years is not better than my last 20 then I failed. [They’re] like that’s disrespectful to what you’ve done the last 20 years — how could you say that…[I say] my man, I wouldn’t accomplish what I accomplished my last 20 years if I did not have this mentality to begin with…”

On Going Pro Early (skipping College)

…I’m doing the math in my head. I’m looking at Stockton—how many years he’s playing .. Drexler—how many years he’s playing. MJ—how many years anymore he’s playing. Hakeem…

And these are players that I studied growing up. And the best way to learn from them is to have that jump off of the film, jump off of the page, and see it face to face.

That’s the best way to learn because I had…it was like a database. I had everything in my mind: what they could do, what they didn’t like to do, where they did it, when they did it.

Now, if I could see that up close, that is the greatest form of education that I could possibly receive. So that’s when I was like, nah, I’m gonna go pro.”

On the Chances that Kobe Could Have Drafted a Chicago Bull with Michael Jordan


” Yeah…I was thinking like if you’re going to be a great franchise [like the Bulls], you have to have multiple great players [not just Michael Jordan].

That’s what the Lakers have done here in LA. You have Jerry [West], you have Elgin [Baylor], you had Magic, you had myself, you had Kareem, you’ve got LeBron.

It’s just one of those franchises that continues.

Yankees too, right? So why are the Bulls any different? Because you have Michael, now everybody’s intimidated to go play. That’s ridiculous.”… Yeah, yeah, like we [Kobe’s family] were planning…looking at homes, schools…the whole thing.”

Which business titans have helped Kobe the most for his business?


“The first person I called was Oprah Winfrey…and we sat on the phone for an hour and half..two hours. We went through the history of building Harpo…the things she felt she did well and thinks that she felt like she didn’t do so well…”

“Another person is Mark Parker, CEO of Nike…He’s helped me through a lot of decisions.”

“Tim Cook and Johnny Ives at Apple.”

I would say those three…have had the most influence on what I’m currently building now.”

A-Rod Asks Kobe: “Any common theme between those three…?”


“The amount of mistakes that are made…we tend to look at them and say okay, they don’t make mistakes, they don’t make bad decisions. And that can’t be any further from the truth. They all make mistakes…and you just continue to plow forward, continue to figure it out.”

When Coach Phil Jackson Writes a Book Calling Kobe “Uncoachable”

“I’m still waiting for my royalties on that…

I was frustrated by [the uncoachable comment], you know? I mean because it was always a type of relationship where it was like, you know, for me, it’s just come at me direct.

I mean, I’m right here; you don’t have to yes me. We can just hash this out, you and me, and he would rather not do that because that’s uncomfortable, right? He’d rather go to the media and do it.

So, a lot of stuff that I read in the book was the first time I’ve ever heard any of this stuff, and I’m like, dude, I’m literally right here, right? You know, so when he came back, you know, that’s one of the things that he said he’d apologize for, because I listen, you know, I understand.

We should just have a direct relationship, and that’s how we were able to kind of move forward. It was really frustrating, man.”

Big Cat asks if there’s any truth to Kobe being uncoachable

Note: Kobe gets more intense answering this one.

Kobe (19:40):

There’s a couple of answers to that.

I drive a hard bargain.

The people that I’ve always had issues or problems with are the people that don’t demand excellence for themselves. I won’t tolerate that.

…when the career is said and done, they’re not going to be looking at you [a player on Kobe’s team] and saying you didn’t win a championship.

No, they’re going to be looking here, right [at Kobe]? So, it’s my responsibility to make sure everybody’s holding themselves accountable. I

‘m holding you accountable. If we just played back-to-back and we have practice the next day, your ass better be there, tape ready to go, mm-hmm, right?

Because I’m there, and I’m ready, and I just got finished lifting weights for two hours.

So, I hold guys to a higher standard, and I don’t sugarcoat stuff, never have, never will, right?

That tends to rub some people the wrong way. Now, teams that we won championships on…me, and all of those guys still close to this day, extremely close, right:

Lamar…Shannon Brown, D-Fish, all my guys…even Shaq…and Pau.

Big Cat jumped in and asked about Kobe’s relationship with Smush Parker

That’s one of the people that would probably say I was a bad teammate.

I wish Big Cat had probed Kobe more on Smush Parker (who didn’t win a championship with the Lakers).

A-Rod (at 21: 32) jumped in and said:

“…it’s a hard line…the best leaders are not always the most popular ones.”

Kobe on Selfishness: The Nine 40-Point Games in a Row Story with Shaq and Phil

At 21: 52, Kobe told the story of how in 2003, Phil Jackson came to him when Shaq was injured.

Phil needed Kobe to run the offense. Kobe did and scored 40 points in 9 straight games.

Then, when Shaq was ready to come back, Phil asked Kobe to “dial it back” because:

“We’re startin’ to lose the Big Fella”.

In the next game against the Clippers, Kobe said he had 38 points and had “a wide open shot” to make 40 (which would have made 10 straight games of 40 or more points and a new record).

But Kobe passed it to Shaq instead.

Kobe: “The 40 point streak ended that night…that’s inside stuff that people don’t know…”

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly, Chief Maniac, Daily Doc