Thank You, Kobe: Black Mamba Forever

The Sad Truth

Sometimes we forget that all of our heros are humans just like us. They hurt just like we do, they suffer just like we do and they die just like we do. It is life’s ultimate equalizer. It does not matter if you were a king, a peasant, an executive, a bum, or anything in between, we must all pass away someday. For those who are lucky, they will live a full and healthy life. Sadly, for the rest of us, we will feel cheated as if we deserved more than what we received.

Kobe Bryant was the young age of 41 when he died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. No one saw it coming, no one ever does. That’s why it affects us the way it does. It reminds us that we are never truly in control. Death can come at any moment. Deaths like Kobe’s makes us feel powerless and scared, aside from the tremendous hurt. It forces us to confront death and it reminds us that it is ever present in our lives. We are forced to move on when we are not ready because time doesn’t wait for anyone.

Kobe Bryant looking back over his shoulder during a game wearing purple and gold

The Black Mamba Mentality

Thank you, Kobe for being the light for many of us who were left in the dark. Kobe was an inspiration everywhere. He taught us that with hard work and dedication, anything was possible. Not only did he preach that but he made himself the perfect example of that. Stories of him practicing 3 times a day before a game or those off season sessions he would have just to keep himself focused year round were the reason he inspired so many. Many players in the NBA today consider him an idol and the reason they fell in love with the sport.

Across the league, players let their emotions overcome them. It is baffling that no games were cancelled, as the players were forced to tread on and play with their heads hanging with sorrow. One beautiful gesture that came of these irresponsible games was that, at the beginning of the game, teams took a 24 shot clock violation and the opposing team would then take an 8 second backcourt violation. They did this to pay homage to the 2 numbers that he dawned in his NBA career, 24 & 8. And this comes hours after Lebron James passed him on the all-time scoring list. Lebron James always considered Kobe an inspiration. He idolized Kobe’s performances and his heart for the game.

Kobe Bryant in his final game sinking a shot

The Legacy

Thank you, Kobe for all the wonderful moments you left us behind with. With so many iconic moments that he left behind, it’s hard to choose one as the defining one of his career. But my personal favorite was his final game. When the game had no significance, excluding the nostalgia of it being his last game, he still gave it his all. The Los Angeles Lakers were finishing out a lackluster year that saw many struggles on the court but that never hindered Kobe’s spirit. In fact, it seemed to ignite an even bigger fire in him to perform better. He wanted to carry the weight of the team on his shoulders if that’s what it took.

However, it wasn’t enough to get them near the playoffs but it was still inspiring to see the dedication. That is also the time that the video of him calling his teammates soft like Charmin leaked to the public. Some definitely believe that sometimes his methods were too much but at the end of the day he really did just want to win. And he proved that in his last game. He scored a stunning 60 points against the Utah Jazz and even hit the critical jump shot to seal the win in the final moments. That is the moment that I’ll carry for the rest of my life in remembrance of Kobe.

Kobe Bryant sitting courtside smiling at the camera with his daughter, Natalia

Natalia & Her Loving Father

Thank you, Kobe for being great father. Unfortunately, his daughter, Natalia Bryant, was also on the helicopter when it crashed. She was only 17 years old. She was the embodiment of her father Kobe. Natalia took her father’s philosophies to heart and instilled it into her work ethic. Many would say that she was just as dedicated as Kobe when it came to basketball.

We will never know if she would have followed in her father’s footsteps by playing professional basketball. But something about her unwavering dedication makes me believe that she would have. Sadly, there are a lot of things that we will never get the chance to experience because of this terrible tragedy. We will never hear Kobe Bryant’s Hall of Fame induction speech. Kobe was going to be eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. Everyone knows he was guaranteed an entry. We will never get to see where the next part of his life was going to take him.

Before his death, he was focused on his family and making sure he was there for his daughters as they matured into adulthood. Once that part of his life was completed, the possibilities of what he could have pursued were endless.

What Could Have Been

Would he have become a head coach for a basketball team? He certainly had the knowledge of the game to be a great head coach. Would he have joined a more executive role in a team like Magic Johnson? He did have the resources to invest heavily into any team that he chose. Would he have been a political activist and fought for equality? He was always on the forefront of every movement, even if there were sacrifices he had to make to be there. Would he have taken on a more fashion based role? He had his own line of clothing and sneakers with Nike that he was involved with in during his NBA career.

We simply don’t know what would have become of him and we never will. Mourn and acknowledge the tragic accident that led to his death. But remember to appreciate and celebrate the life that he lived. Continue his everlasting legacy of hard work and dedication. Who knows when there will be another wonderful soul like his again. He may be gone but the legacy and those he inspired will live on and carry his name for years to come. Thank you, Kobe. Black Mamba Forever.

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