Kobe Bryant was a man who inspired and motivated many throughout the world. It was announced much to all of our shock and disbelief that Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant, along with seven other passengers lost their lives due to an unfortunate helicopter accident. But instead of mourning let us celebrate the man that Kobe Bryant was.
Kobe Bryant was The Man, The Myth, The Mamba
On June 26th, 1996 with the 13th pick in the NBA draft, the Charlotte Hornets would select a young 17-year old by the name of Kobe Bryant. Bryant would later be traded during that same draft to the Los Angeles Lakers and the rest would become history. If I told you from that day forward that 17-year-old kid named Kobe Bryant would go on to accomplish amazing feats—scoring titles, multiple championships, multiple all-star appearances, All-NBA selections, All-First-team defensive selections, Olympic gold medalist, numerous NBA records—would you believe me? Probably not, but you know who would believe me? Kobe Bryant. That was just the person he was.
From the moment he came in the league at 17, Bryant, for lack of a better word, was just different. He had the focus, the motivation, the determination, to want to be better and dominate the competition and whoever was in his way from a championship. You didn’t see that, let alone see it from such a young kid but he had it. He wanted to be the best or at the very least be in the conversation with the greats. He wanted people to know his name and fear him on the basketball court. His mental fortitude and work ethic was rival to that of only Micheal Jordan.
There was no challenge he didn’t want to meet head-on. He played and won championships with great players like Shaquille O’ Neal and Pau Gasol. He won gold medals with guys like Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony. And if you were to ask every one of those guys what it was like to play with Kobe Bryant, they might say a bit difficult and challenging at times, but they knew that he was going to bring it 100% and not cheat his teammates or the game, doing whatever it took to win.
He outscored the Dallas Mavericks through three quarters all by himself once. After three-quarters, Dallas had 62 points versus the 61 put up by Bryant alone. He scored an astounding 81 points in a comeback win against the Toronto Raptors. He won a championship against a tough gritty Boston Celtic team against the likes of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Rasheed Wallace. Oh, by the way, he had a broken finger on his shooting hand no less.
He hit two of the biggest free throws in his career off a torn Achilles, scored 60 points in his final NBA game, and even won an Emmy and Oscar award. The list of accomplishments for Kobe goes on and on but that was him that was the Mamba mentality.
He played through numerous injuries and when the odds were stacked against him you knew in the back of your mind “if anyone can do it, it’s Kobe Bryant.” That was the mamba mentality—never making excuses, never giving up, always finding a way to overcome any obstacle and evolve and become better at all costs. Staring at a challenge head-on and saying you know what? You’re not going to best me this time, whether it be a new opponent or life after basketball. That was simply just him.
The Family Man, The Girl Dad
Kobe Bryant and his lovely wife Vanessa Bryant were blessed with four beautiful girls. Natalia Diamante Bryant age 17, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant age 13 (deceased), Bianka Bella Bryant age 3, and newborn Capri Kobe Bryant. His wife and girls were his pride and joy. It was widely known how much he loved his family. It was once he retired that we truly got to see a glimpse of Bryant the family man, a sight you never knew you needed to see.
You could catch them all going to Disneyland, in various Instagram pictures and videos. Gianna had started making a name for herself by playing basketball gaining the nickname “Mamacita”, and if she wasn’t competing in AAU competitions. then you could catch her and her dad at Laker games watching various players and studying the game.
Kobe Bryant the father, the family man, was truly a sight to behold. You could hear the joy and admiration and pride he had for his girls and wife in various interviews. You could see it in his face when he was with them. Many fans wanted Bryant to have a boy to extend his legacy. Bryant, on the other hand, loved having girls and knew his girls would be the ones to extend his legacy. He was through and through a girl dad.
Thank You From A Fan
For this part, all I have left to say is simply thank you from the bottom of my heart. When Bryant came into the league I was three years old. I essentially grew up with Bryant and even though I didn’t know him personally, I still felt like I knew him. I watched him, studied him, and wanted to be like him.
He has helped so many throughout the world, myself included, through tough times. He inspired so many not just in the NBA, but in the world. He was a mentor to many current players and was a role model and global icon.
Was Kobe Bryant perfect? Not at all but who is? He brought people together, made us smile, made us cry. He gave you hope and belief that you could accomplish and overcome anything you put your mind too. He taught us the meaning of hard work and an indestructible work ethic. Above all us, he became a hero for all of us to believe in.
Kobe Bryant may be gone from us but his legacy and the things he taught and gave will never be forgotten and will always be celebrated. He was the best friend you never got to meet. We were the students in his class we never knew he was teaching, and above all us, he was the hero you wanted to be just like.
Rest in Peace to Kobe Bryant his lovely daughter, Gianna, along with the seven other amazing people who lost their lives. I could go on and on but right now all that’s left to be said is thank you and above all else… Mamba out.
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