Take a second and remember where you were at or what you were doing on the date of January 26, 2020. Unfortunately on this day the basketball community along with the world, lost Kobe Bean Bryant, Gianna Bryant, along with seven other lives in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif.
In 1996, Bryant was just a 6’6 shooting guard out of Lower Merion High School who was drafted 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets and was looked at as someone who was overrated and didn’t belong in the league.
One team, however, believed that this 17-year old teenager from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania could take their organization to the next level and that team was the Los Angeles Lakers. Then owner of the Lakers, Jerry West, did everything in his power to get Bryant into the legendary organization that don the colors of purple and gold.
Luckily for West, a deal was made between the Lakers and the Charlotte Hornets. Ever since that one faithful night, he has gradually become someone who is looked at as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
Growing up, there was always an intricate relationship between me and Bryant. All my life I have been a LeBron James fan, however, the Lakers have been my favorite team, and Bryant has always been a player that I admire.
Bryant was not only a role model for myself but also served that same purpose for the millions of other basketball fans worldwide who admired him and his work ethic.
Long time basketball fan Marvin Leveille was able to express his admiration for Bryant on and off of the basketball court.
“The number one thing Kobe (Bryant) taught me was to be absolutely fearless and to be a go-getter,” Leveille said.
“It wasn’t until after his death that you realize the impact he had on and off the court,” Leveille and this inspired me to one day be the best girl dad I can be,” Leveille added.
From the time I watched Bryant in the 2008 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics until his final game in the NBA where he scored 60 points in the Staples Center against the Utah Jazz the “Black Mamba” was more than just an on-court persona.
Bryant was more than a basketball superstar, he was an Oscar award-winning author, as well as a loving husband and wonderful father. He is famously known as one of the world’s greatest “Girl’s dad.”
Bryant influenced the youth so much, that children begged their parents, as well as younger and older siblings to watch his greatness. One of these older siblings was Shamya Chinn.
“As a basketball player, Kobe (Bryant) inspired me to do the best and be the best at all time even outside of basketball, and he also taught me to understand the difference between being cocky and confident,” former basketball player Sydney Mitchell stated.
“He was my little brother’s role model, so I had no choice but to watch him, however one thing I admired about Kobe Bryant was that he was fearless and he constantly put others before himself,” Mitchell added.
I honestly feel that I can speak for most basketball fans when I say that Bryant was and will continue to be an icon. There is one quote in particular from ESPN anchor Stephen A. Smith that will always stick with me when bringing up Bryant.
“Heroes are remembered, but Legends never die,” Smith said.
“Everyone should approach life with (the) “Mamba Mentality,” because you should do your best at all times in life and in anything you do because you never know when you will take your last breath,” Smith stated.