I chose to write a tribute Kobe Bryant because of my love for basketball and Kobe Bryant. He, in my opinion, is one of the most talented and selfless basketball players of all time. Now he is no longer with us, and the world has been left shocked. I’ll remember him, because of what he did and how he did it.
5 x NBA Champion. 2 x Finals MVP. NBA MVP. 18 x All-Star. 2 x NBA Scoring Champion. 4th on All-Time Scoring List. These are just a few of the achievements by Kobe Bean Bryant, which he achieved over the span of his entire 20-season tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers, which are legendary in the history of the NBA. He is known for his famed “Mamba Mentality”, a do-or-die situation where one does anything to win. He is known for his philanthropy, starting numerous basketball academies for children, his own and others, encouraging them to be the best they can be on and off the court. He is known for a lot of things.
Or, at least, he was.
On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash en route to a tournament at Bryant’s Mamba Academy, in Calabasas, California. He was left behind by his wife, and three daughters. The victims names were Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, John Altobelli, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser, Ara Zobayan, and Kobe and Gianna Bryant. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement: “The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna … For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary … But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.”
Now, people look back and remember. “Hey, wasn’t Bryant the one who scored 55 points in a half and finished with 81?” “Isn’t he the one who scored 60 in his last game?” “Isn’t he the one who always encouraged someone to be the best they can be?” Kobe Bryant is but a memory; he will always have a place in our hearts, and everyone’s hearts. In the NBA, teams took 8-second and 24-second violations to honor the numbers of Bryant’s jerseys. The Lakers and Mavericks have retired his two numbers, which means that no one will ever wear that number again. Staples Center, the team’s arena, has been turned into a massive tribute area for fans to pay their respects. And LeBron James, to make his absence hit your heart, delivered a heart-wrenching speech, in tears himself, to the crowd in the Lakers first game back after the Mamba’s death. He quoted Bryant’s famous saying “Mamba out,” and added “not forgotten.” But the part that struck me the most was the end.
“Live on brother.”