Kobe Bryant. Arguably the greatest basketball player ever to play (you are completely insane if you think that, but let’s talk about that another time) in the NBA. Also arguably the most selfish player ever to touch a basketball. If you were to ask Thomas Hobbes, he’d say that Kobe was just following human nature.
Thomas Hobbes is an English philosopher from the 17th century, who in his treatise the Leviathan, claims that human nature is essentially selfish. Even further, according to Hobbes, even the seemingly altruistic things we do have selfish motivations behind them. We do things solely to remove our own discomfort. To use Professor LaVaque-Manty’s example of charity, Hobbes says when we donate to charity it is so we don’t feel discomfort over people’s misfortunes, not just to do it altruistically. This selfishness that Hobbes claims to be human nature is evident in the play style of Kobe Bryant, as well as his contract compared to other superstars.
Kobe’s stats are extraordinary. Over 32,000 career points, 5,000 assists, 6,500 rebounds. There aren’t many players that have ever played in the NBA with a career stat line like that. The man has set records, most notably in my mind being the record for most missed field goals in a NBA career. That is a pretty selfish stat. It says that you’re willing to keep shooting even if you’re hurting your team. Kobe is going to shoot even if he keeps missing, saying himself “I would go 0-30 before I would go 0-9”, which is quite different from other guys in the league. Kobe’s teammates seem to have just accepted that Kobe is a shooter, a selfish player. To be fair, he does have over 5,000 assists for his career, but he holds the record for missed shots. That easily offsets his career assist totals. Kobe is just being a good Hobbesian is all, just following human nature and being selfish, removing any of the discomfort of not being considered a top player in the league, one of the best to ever play.
Another way that Kobe could be considered selfish is the fact that Kobe is the highest paid player in the league. Being so highly paid locks up so much cap room that the Lakers have a hard time getting another superstar to play with Kobe and then having the finances to have a supporting cast around Kobe and another superstar. Other superstars in the NBA have taken pay cuts to play with each other and win championships. Not Kobe. He’s going to get his money, damn it. Getting that max contract is a way of keeping financial discomfort away, so just following human nature. Hobbes would approve. Kobe is a perfect example of Hobbes’ selfish human nature.
Now, this isn’t an attack on Kobe as a basketball player or person. I have a lot of respect for Kobe. He puts his team on his back when it really matters and comes up big. I just wanted to point out that Kobe is apparently a devout follower of Hobbesian human nature, which is a selfish human nature.