Written by: Chris Bibona
Shock shot up my spine the moment I heard the news; “Kobe Bryant has been killed in a helicopter crash at approximately 10:00 AM in Calabasas, California”. I was on-air, about to deliver a sports report for KOCI, moments from talking about LeBron James passing Kobe Bryant as the 3rd all-time leading scorer in NBA history. Little did I know, a minute later I would be telling the world about the actual passing of Kobe Bryant.
5× NBA champion, 2× NBA Finals MVP, NBA Most Valuable Player, 18× NBA All-Star, Oscar Recipient. These are only a fraction of the accolades that are matched with the legend of the Black Mamba.
Being citizens of Southern California, Kobe’s influence touched us more than any other area. For 20 years, Kobe labored tirelessly for the Los Angeles Lakers bringing us unforgettable memories, lessons, and not to mention, the legendary ‘Mamba Mentality’. Even after his playing career, Bryant coached multiple youth teams across several sports including his beloved basketball. Undoubtedly, the biggest factor in his coaching was the love for his kids. Unfortunately, his daughter Gianna was among those on the way to a sporting event when the helicopter went down- she was 13.
Kobe Bryant was the greatest competitor in sports history. His passion for his practice will forever go unmatched. The stories seem unreal, but the lengths that Bryant would go to improve on his game are a testament to his character. Whether it was shooting while wearing a cast or casually practicing in a dark gym at 3 in the morning, Kobe put his all into winning. His killer instincts of the Mamba Mentality will forever serve as the prototype example of what it takes to be the best. The man never settled. After all, there’s only one player to ever have two numbers retired: Yep, Kobe Bryant. That’s how marvelous this kid from Philadelphia was.
The memories are too numerous to count and the legacy is infinite.
Rest in peace, number 8 & 24
Rest in peace, Kobe Bryant