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Basketball legend Kobe Bryant ended his 20-year basketball career in April this year with the historic 60-point farewell game at the Staples Center. Recently, the retired NBA superstar wrote a powerful letter to his younger self advising him how to properly support his friends and relatives.
In the public letter published in The Players’ Tribune, the basketball legend gave advice to his 17-year-old self to INVEST in family, not to PAY for them.
He opens up with a warning: “When your Laker dream comes true tomorrow, you need to figure out a way to invest in the future of your family and friends. This sounds simple, and you may think it’s a no-brainer, but take some time to think on it further.”
The talented athlete further stated that while giving support to family and friends may seem like doing the right thing, he explained that such actions may eventually hold them back.
“You will come to understand that you were taking care of them because it made YOU feel good, it made YOU happy to see them smiling and without a care in the world — and that was extremely selfish of you,” Bryant wrote. “While you were feeling satisfied with yourself, you were slowly eating away at their own dreams and ambitions. You were adding material things to their lives, but subtracting the most precious gifts of all: independence and growth.”
His message can be seen as echoing the same sentiment he revealed a few months ago right after his historic farewell game. In an interview with ESPN, Kobe revealed that he had a falling out with parents Joe and Pamela Bryant three years ago.
“Our relationship is sh*t,” Bryant told ESPN. “I say, ‘I’m going to buy you a very nice home, and the response is ‘That’s not good enough’? Then you’re selling my sh*t?”
He also stated that he stopped providing financial support to his two sisters who both have college degrees and their own careers.
His parents then issued a statement after a court allowed them to auction six items of his memorabilia amounting to $500,000:
“We regret our actions and statements related to the Kobe Bryant auction memorabilia,” their statement read. “We apologize for any misunderstanding and unintended pain we may have caused our son and appreciate the financial support that he has provided to us over the years.”
In his open letter, Bryant gave what he considers the most important advice he can give his younger self: “Make sure your parents remain PARENTS and not managers.”
“Before you sign that first contract, figure out the right budget for your parents — one that will allow them to live beautifully while also growing your business and setting people up for long-term success. That way, your children’s kids and their kids will be able to invest in their own futures when the time comes,” he concluded.