"You were adding material things to their lives, but subtracting the most precious gifts of all."
Kobe Bryant has penned a lengthy letter to his 17-year old self for The Player's Tribune, in which he advises his younger self to invest in the future of family and friends, but to refrain from giving them material things like cars and money.
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.
The Black Mamba also warned of the dangers of letting your parents become managers, which he deems the most important advice. He writes to the younger Bean Bryant;
The most important advice I can give to you is to 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.
The specific reason that pushed Kobe to write this letter is unknown but it's clear that one of the main things he regrets in his career is enabling his friends and family which led to resentment and jealousy from all parties involved, including himself.
The full letter is worth the read- you can check out in its entirety right here. And don't worry its not THAT long because...
There’s plenty more I could write to you, but at 17, I know you don’t have the attention span to sit through 2,000 words.