On Wednesday night, Kobe Bryant was honored at the ESPY Awards. The former Los Angeles Lakers superstar was one of three athletes to be given the ESPY Icon Award. Along with Bryant, future NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and soccer legend Abby Wambach were also honored with the award for their iconic careers.
After accepting the award, Bryant spoke to the crowd filled with the best and brightest athletes in professional sports with former Laker Shaquille O’Neal and current Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson in attendance. Kobe, as per usual, had an inspirational speech prepared with an explanation as to why he, Manning, and Wambach received the award, via Lakers.com:
“We’re not on this stage just because of talent or ability,” Bryant said. “We’re up here because of 4 a.m. We’re up here because of two-a-days or five-a-days. We’re up here because we had a dream and let nothing stand in our way. If anything tried to bring us down, we used it to make us stronger.”
Bryant went on to talk about his plans for the future with his playing days having come to an end. The five-time NBA champion fully intends to continue his pursuit to inspire, ending his speech with a quote that bound to stand the test of time:
“I believe that there’s time for resting at the end, but for me that time is not now,” Bryant said. “Thank you for this tremendous honor and honoring my basketball career, but I’m far from done. My next dream is to be honored one day for inspiring the next generation of athletes to have a dream, sacrifice for it and never, ever rest in the middle.”
Unlike NBA superstars of the past, Bryant fully intends to be relevant for years to come while embracing another challenge. The Lakers legend will now get back to work at Kobe Inc. as he strives to have similar success running his company as he did on the basketball floor in Los Angeles.