MSL 001: Lab Rant – Kobe Bryant Kills Lakers Championship

In this Marketing Strategy Lab Rant, Jeff Coga rants about how Kobe Bryant’s basketball contract kills the Los Angeles Lakers’ opportunity to win the 2014-2015 Championship. How can a “leader” claim he’ll do whatever it takes, yet he’s not willing to let the other people on his team eat? Jeff then covers a business lesson on what Kobe should learn from and how more people should listen to Simon Sinek’s philosophy on “Leaders Eat Last”.

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Kobe Bryant Rant

Outline Of Lab Rant – Kobe Bryant Kills Lakers Championship

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Marketing Strategy Lab Episode 001:

0:09 – Question of today: Kobe Bryant, why did you say – “I can sit here and tell you with 100 percent honesty that I’m happy with the effort the organization put forward this summer”?

0:19 – Jeff Coga calling out Kobe Bryant’s lie of saying he’s happy with the effort of the Los Angeles Lakers Organization

0:36 – Is Kobe Bryant’s contract at $48,500,000 contract ridiculous when he only played 6 games in 2013-2014 season? Would you pay that much money for a player with a torn Achilles and a knee injury on the same leg?

1:15 – Kobe Bryant makes over $31,000,000 from endorsements yet he will not take a pay cut and he’s willing to do “whatever it takes” to win?

1:20 – Kobe maybe you should listen to Simon Sinek: “The true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own. Great leaders truly care about those they are privileged to lead and understand that the true cost of the leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest.” ― Simon Sinek, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

1:53 – What was Kobe’s self-interest? Wanting to be the highest paid NBA player or to win his 6th NBA championship?

2:30 – How come the 2013 – 2014 NBA champs star, Tim Duncan is ONLY getting paid $10,000,000 per year VS Kobe’s $23,500,000?

Show Note Reference:

Show Notes From Jeff Coga
July 22, 2014 @ 5:30 AM

After listening to this episode of Marketing Strategy Lab, you might be saying…

“WTF Did I Listen to?”

“What does Kobe Bryant’s $48,500,000 salary have to do with this show, marketing, or business?”

“Yeah, Lakers will suck next season!”

Regardless of what came to mind, let me explain why I decided to do a Kobe Bryant rant.

First off, I’m a die hard Los Angeles Lakers Fan.  I bleed the purple and gold!!! Don’t believe me?

Here’s a POV picture from a Lakers game I went to. Courtesy of my good friend, Wayne. I actually posted this on Facebook when I went and you’ll see what happened  (*scroll down*)…

Kobe Bryant, Jeff Coga, POV

After I posted the image above on my Facebook (click here to add me on Facebook)… The power of social media kicked in. My friend, Lucky, saw my Facebook status feed and found me on TV. Not only did he find me on TV but he was quick enough to snap a picture and tagged me in the photo. I’m the guy on the left and right next to me is my good friend Wayne looking back at something on the floor. I’m not exactly sure what he’s looking at when Kobe made a basket to tie the game 86 to 86 with 31.5 seconds left. It was a pretty intense game!

If you’re wondering who the super old guy on the right with the cowboy hat is – it’s multi-millionaire “NBA Superfan” aka his real name James F. Goldstein. This guy goes to like almost every other damn NBA game you can think of. One thing he doesn’t do as a Superfan is… He doesn’t scream or yell. He just sits quietly like he’s narcoleptic. Yeah, kinda weird right? Moving on…

Kobe Bryant, Jeff Coga, James Goldstein

Next picture is from another game I went to. My better half actually saw me on TV and tweeted about it. I guess she likes spying on me while making fun of me at the same time. lol  This game was courtesy of my good friend, Robert, the bald-headed cool guy sitting next to me .  He got me these tickets as an early Christmas gift. Yeah I know, my friends are super cool. 🙂

Kobe Bryant, Jeff Coga, Robert Torres

Now that you believe that I’m a Lakers fan, this gives me some right to give a Kobe Bryant rant. Now let’s get into the meat and potatoes of the blog…

What Can You Learn From Kobe Bryant’s $48,500,000 Contract?

If you don’t know the back story, I’ll give you a quick recap.

Kobe Bryant who lead the Los Angeles Lakers to 5 NBA championships signed a two-year contract in 2013 worth $48,500,000. When he signed this, Kobe was 35 years old being in the league for over 17 years and he just had an injury that 99.9% of all basketball athletes never make a comeback from. He tore his Achilles.

When he signed this contract, the sports world went crazy. Some were against it and some were glad (click here to read full article).

If you don’t have time to read it… let me give you the short version.

  • The Happy Camp: “It’s a great way for the Lakers organization to show loyalty and to take care of its star”.
  • The Bad Camp: “The end of 2013 to 2014 season has one of the biggest super stars and Kobe should have left money on the table so he can build a stronger team”

Now, lets fast-forward time to today. The Lakers couldn’t get any “super stars” like Carmelo Anthony or Lebron James to come play because they didn’t have enough cap space.

Kobe also went on to say he was willing to do “whatever it takes” to win another championship before he retires, YET he didn’t take a pay cut. To me that doesn’t jive.

How can a leader sign such a huge contract knowing it can handicap the team’s ability to sign another good player? Fast-forward time to today and we know the cap space wasn’t enough. Lakers can’t get any super stars.

Just recently I re-listened to a podcast  that reminded me why Kobe was so wrong. The podcast is called School of Greatness – hosted by Lewis Howes and he had a guest speaker named Simon Sinek.

Simon has worked with top level CEOs, military leaders, and everyone in between to understand what separates organizations that thrive with those that only survive. You might know him from his wildly successful TED talk, “Start with Why,” which is one of the most watched TED talks of all time. If you haven’t watched the video… I HIGHLY recommend it.

In the episode, Lewis and Simon get into a deep conversation covering the topic of “Why Leaders Eat Last”.  In Simon’s book “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Other Don’t” he has a quote that we (not just Kobe) can learn from…

It goes like this…

“The true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own. Great leaders truly care about those they are privileged to lead and understand that the true cost of the leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest.”

Kobe’s self-interest of making the MAX money has hurt the Lakers and crippled their ability to win a championship in the next two years (unless some miracle happens).

So next time you’re making a financial decision in your business – ask the question of…

“Is this the BEST interest for the organization or the BEST interest of me?”

If all of us looked out for the interest of others and serving others first, imagine what the world would be like!

Live Free,

Jeff Coga - Marketing Strategy Lab

Jeff Coga

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P.S.S. If this is the first time listening to our podcast or reading this blog, please make sure to check out the introductory episode of Marketing Strategy Lab, where we break down what this podcast is all about.

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  • Annie Marie Peters

    Reply Reply July 29, 2014

    Interesting angle for a conversation about business and marketing! I have to say, you guys are doing a good job of bringing a unique perspective to the table.

  • Joe

    Reply Reply July 31, 2014

    There’s no doubt Kobe is more worried about Kobe than he is the team. But I don’t really blame him for that. He’s already got the championships, MVP’s, etc. No matter what, he’s going down as one of the best players to ever live. He HAS to say he’s all for the team and championships. If he said anything else he’d be vilified. I say good for Kobe for taking as much money as he can. If I was an upset Lakers fan I would be more angry at the upper management of the organization than I would be at Kobe. They are the ones responsible for putting the best team together…not Kobe.

  • Hrvoje

    Reply Reply August 2, 2014

    I have enjoyed reading this. It’s very interesting and fun analysis! Now I see things from a new perspective. Great work!

  • Alex London

    Reply Reply August 4, 2014

    The world of professional sports and professional athletes is one of smoke and mirrors. Organizations and players pay lip service to fans emotions but the reality is a world away. That’s why when you actually get a player who puts his team first, a true leader, it is surprising.

  • Louisa Chandler

    Reply Reply August 4, 2014

    As I read many articles on your site I am really impressed with the way you equate business strategy with sports. This really helps to put things in perspective. One thing I have despised most about the business dealings I have been exposed to is the selfish nature of them. I understand that at times we all have to stick up for ourselves and make sure that dealings are conducted in a fair manner but it perplexes me that this should automatically be at the detriment of others!

  • Meg

    Reply Reply August 7, 2014

    Hahahaha, great pictures! Kobe just seems kind of thoughtless and arrogant to me…

  • Jessica

    Reply Reply August 8, 2014

    Wow Kobe’s income is absolutely ridiculous! I can’t believe he makes that much and only played 6 games?!?! I totally agree that it is not fair at all to the rest of the team because they will likely lose due to his selfishness! How can the team even allow this to happen? He is injured! Why doesn’t the NBA make a bigger deal about this?

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