New Orleans Saints embrace Kobe Bryant’s ‘Mamba mentality’ to become best team in football

CHARLOTTE – As the pre-game clock ticks down from hours to minutes, Demario Davis always begins praying for forgiveness.

He envisions every scenario that could possibly present itself in any give contest. And the New Orleans Saints linebacker knows how he must respond. He knows the violent nature with which he must attack, and the pain that he is expected to inflict. So, before Davis can adapt the necessary mindset, he first pre-atones.

“It’s a lot of focus,” the 6-2, 248-pound seventh-year veteran tells USA TODAY Sports. “For me, it’s like, I have to ask for forgiveness for what I’m about to do on the field, and then when I’m coming off the field, I’m asking forgiveness for what I just did on the field, because you have to go to a killer mentality. Mamba Mentality.”

That’s right. Mamba, as in Kobe Bryant. The retired Lakers great has long fascinated Davis. He watches every interview Bryant gives, watches his Detail film breakdowns for ESPN, and bought his book “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play” hoping to glean insight on how to raise his level of play.

Davis continues.

“I remember reading about why he had to create that Mamba Mentality and I try to bring that to my game because it’s like, ‘I’m Demario off the field, but I’m ‘Magic’ on the field.’ Just like he’s Kobe off the court, but on the court, he’s Mamba. You can’t be that nice guy on the field. You’ve got to have that switch. For me, it’s a mental process. It’s a psych, to go to another place.”

Davis understands  its mental fortitude that makes the difference between average and game-changing performances. Adapting his own version of the Mamba Mentality has positioned Davis to record a team-high 103 tackles to go with four sacks, four pass breakups and two forced fumbles, and he believes it could help carry the Saints to the Super Bowl.

“Mamba Mentality,” he said again. “You’ve got to play that one in front of you. … The biggest point Kobe talks about is, win or lose, your process has to be the same. If you win, gotta go and make your corrections and keep balling. If we lose, we go in and make corrections, come back stronger the next week. Mamba Mentality. It’s like, what’s your goal – your end goal? Our goal isn’t to win all our regular season games. We have a bigger goal, the ultimate end goal.”

Davis’ teammates may have different styles, rituals or names for it, but they share the same mentality. They too work hard to ensure they approach the game with a similar resolve. It’s literally a game-changer, they say.

It can mean the difference between winning or losing a battle of wills against an opponent that’s just as physically gifted. It can enable an athlete to stave off exhaustion and make one more contribution in the clutch. And such mental stamina can enable a player and his team to gut their way through late-season performances to eke out one more precious win.

Source: Read Full Article