The New York Times has a cool interview with two extremely successful people: Kobe Bryant and Arianna Huffington. They both go into great detail about how they've achieved and maintained greatness, and Kobe shares two stories of career role models that pretty much encapsulate his persona:
1. On meditation:
KB: [N.B.A. coach] Phil Jackson introduced me to it. When I was 18, Michael Jackson tried to get me to meditate. He could sit in meditation for seven hours. But I couldn't sit still for 20 minutes.
PG: Michael Jackson?
KB: Yeah. "Thriller" Michael Jackson.
(I love that. "Yeah, you know, Michael Jackson. You've heard of him, right?")
2. On his jump shot:
KB: When you watch me shoot my fadeaway jumper, you'll notice my leg is always extended. I had problems making that shot in the past. It's tough. So one day I'm watching the Discovery Channel and see a cheetah hunting. When the cheetah runs, its tail always gives it balance, even if it's cutting a sharp angle. And that's when I was like: My leg could be the tail, right?
AH: That's amazing.
KB: Inspiration surrounds us.
So, to sum that all up, Kobe Bryant has, at different points in his career, shrugged off advice from Michael Jackson and readily accepted tactical inspiration from a cat. And that's how you get to be Kobe Bryant.