Remembering a legend

Josh Baum, Staff Writer

Kobe Bryant was not a perfect person, nobody is. Often people strive for this perfection, and there is not a person who embodied this pursuit more than the late, great Laker’s star. Born in Philadelphia to former NBA player Joe Bryant and wife Pamela, Bryant learned from a young age about hard work. These lessons allowed Bryant to play with a drive and determination rarely seen before. 

“We saw his dedication to the game. He would get in the gym, lift weights, he would go over to the gym, get shots up before practice, go through the whole practice, and that was his routine every day. He’s not great by accident is my point. He puts the work in. And I think what I learned about Kobe is he’s so hungry to be good, he puts the work in. I just think his hunger and his determination is what I was most impressed with,” said former teammate Carlos Boozer.

This mindset, coined “Mamba Mentality”, stayed with Bryant throughout his 20 year-career and led him to five NBA championships, an MVP award and 18 All-Star appearances. While his on the court achievements were enough to make him a role model, it was his journey after basketball that made him truly great. 

“What hit me the hardest was that Kobe was becoming greater in his second career than he was in his first,” said sports analyst for ESPN, Skip Bayless.

President Donald Trump shared similar comments via Twitter,

In the years following retirement, Bryant refocused his entire life. He prioritized being a dad, a husband, a mentor, and a leader in not only the Los Angeles community, but the world. Up until his untimely passing, Bryant was an official mentor for After-School All-Stars, which provides after-school programs to approximately 72,000 kids. He also founded the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation which educates children and strengthens communities globally. His most impactful attribute, however, was his dedication to women’s sports. Bryant advocated for taking women’s sports seriously long before he had four daughters, but with his eldest GiGi following in his basketball footsteps, he made a big push. 

 “A lot of the resources are for men’s basketball and there was not a lot of access for a lot of females, Kobe wanted to change that,” said current WNBA player, Jewell Loyd.

Bryant was also very involved in his daughter’s basketball futures.

“I don’t think he got a chance to really establish (a legacy) in our game, the next 30 years, he might have. The next generation of kids who knew his daughter and played with Gigi. He gets involved at a whole another level. He was just getting started,” commented University of Connecticut Women’s Basketball coach Geno Auriemma.

The world lost more than a basketball legend in this tragic incident, it lost a superhero. Bryant was larger than life and bridged the gap between sports stardom and real life. 

“All the basketball idols that I grew up [with], I see them. They’re old … The fact that we lost probably the world’s greatest Laker, world’s greatest basketball player,” said former NBA star and close friend of Kobe Bryant, Dr. Shaquille O’Neal.

Rest in peace to Kobe & Gianna Bryant, John, Keri & Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah & Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and Ara Zobayan.