As you may know by now, Bryant died Sunday after a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. In that helicopter, Gianna, his daughter, and eight other people were with him. Bryant was 41 years old.
It’s hard to put into words what Bryant meant to me, simply because he was one of my favorite athletes growing up, but I’ll attempt to do so in the next couple of paragraphs:
For me, Bryant was the sole reason I became a Lakers and basketball fan at a young age. You see, I was born in ‘94, so I didn’t get to watch Michael Jordan in his prime with the Chicago Bulls. I did watch Jordan with the Washington Wizards later on, but it wasn’t the same, as it was more of a retirement tour for Jordan and his performances were not the same as earlier in his career.
Instead, I began watching basketball with Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal as they dominated the NBA and went on to win three championships in a row. Bryant won two more titles later in back-to-back years. But in the early 2000’s, I’ll never forget sneaking to the living room on a school night and turning on the tv just to watch the Lakers, especially when the Lakers had fantastic matchups against the Portland Trail Blazers in 2000 or against the Sacramento Kings in 2002. And in every single game, Bryant would always pull amazing plays and help his team to victories.
Watching Kobe inspired me to become a professional athlete (obviously that dream didn’t come true) but it did make me learn the biggest lesson in my life, to always keep trying and to never give up.
Life is full of ups and downs, but the lesson I learned from sports is that no player will play a perfect game in an entire season, but you must always attempt to be your best. Bryant wasn’t perfect, but that doesn’t mean that he just settled with being average, instead, he gave it everything he had to be one step closer to perfection. Once he retired, he tried to be a perfect dad and husband by spending his time with his wife and his four daughters.
Me, I’ll never be perfect. I’ll never be the perfect writer, friend, sports analyst, but that doesn’t mean I won’t practice my craft in order to improve. You know why? Because that’s what I learned from an athlete that I idolized while growing up.
Bryant was a competitor, he had a great work ethic, he was a natural winner. We don’t have too many people like him, there will never be another Bryant.
Bryant’s legacy could be measured in how many basketball records he broke, the number of championships he won, or his overall statistics but the way he impacted so many lives is how you can really measure his legend and his legacy in society and in basketball.
January 26, 2020 will be remembered as one of the saddest days in the world of sports.
Rest in Peace Kobe.
Here are some posts on how NBA players and many sports teams worldwide honored Bryant’s memory.