John Celestand Talks Kobe Bryant’s Commitment to Meditation and More on Soul Talk

John Celestand

Something that John Celestand posted on Instagram about Kobe Bryant after his passing stuck with me.

The former teammate of Bryant and NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000 recalled when Phil Jackson introduced the team to yoga and meditation. Kobe was one of the only people who took it seriously.

Celestand is the first guest of our four-week interview series during Mental Health Awareness Month. He was the no. 30 overall draft pick in 1999. John shares his experiences of having panic attacks, being in the zone when he scored 68 (or 69) points in an AAU game, thoughts on what it means to slow the game down, and much more.

Meditation is about quieting the mind. Almost calming and quieting the emotions too. In basketball, when your mind is quiet and your emotions are quiet, that’s mostly when you can play at your best.

After the interview John shared with me an essay he wrote on the mind around 2005. “It’s been sitting in my Dropbox forever”. Here’s a snippet.

The mind is so powerful it can make you see things that don’t exist. Have you ever been in your bed in the dark and see something looking at you in the corner? For that split second, you believe that it is something in the room. Your heart races, you are scared to death, and then suddenly you realize its nothing. It was a shirt, a bear or some other object. The mind thought that it saw something else and the body reacted. What if you closed your eyes and had your mind envisioning all the things you wanted in life?

Tap in below to watch the full interview with John Celestand.

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Martin is the Founder, Chief Editor, and Head Skills Development Trainer for Basketball Society. He has work experience in digital media and marketing, radio, and journalism. Currently, he does freelance work as a videographer and content creator. He has been featured as a writer on sites such as Def Pen, TV Film News, All Hip-Hop, and more. Martin played high school basketball at South Brunswick High School (NJ) where he graduated in 2007. He is a 1,000-point scorer at SBHS and an All-Middlesex County performer as a 3-year varsity starter. He helped lead SBHS to their first-ever Central Jersey Group 4 sectional state championship in 2007. Martin played college basketball at Eastern University, where he graduated (BA, Communications) in 2012. Martin was a four-year starter and a 1,000-point scorer at EU. Follow Martin on Twitter @Marsoaries and on Instagram @martin_soaries


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