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Kobe Bryant: A Legacy Beyond the Court

Published on January 29, 2020 at 8:37 p.m.
by Allie Rose.

I was eating lunch with friends on Sunday, Jan. 26, when all around the restaurant people were struck with the news that basketball legend Kobe Bryant had passed. He and his daughter Gianna died tragically in a helicopter accident, along with seven others. Around each table, phones were buzzing with notifications from TMZ, and everyone was saying, “No, this cannot be real.” But within minutes, ESPN had confirmed the report that the sports star had passed was true.

Photo by Fred Kearney on Unsplash

While I am not an avid NBA fan, I have been a close friend to grief, losing my sister while in college. Stars from every area of the industry seemed to be grieving the loss of Kobe Bryant as I scrolled through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and saw countless posts commemorating the life of Bryant. There are no right words to say to a family when they have lost a loved one, much less two loved ones. It may seem like a cliché, but as the news traveled around the world, it seemed as though no one knew how much Bryant’s life meant until he was gone. Death shocks us in ways we never knew and causes us to realize the impact human life has on us all.

Kobe Bryant created a legacy in many ways, but his gifts were not limited to basketball. Bryant, a first-round pick in the 1996 NBA draft, accumulated many awards, including two Olympic gold medals on the U.S. national team. He won the NBA’s most valuable player award and had an all-time career high of 81 points in the 2006 game against the Toronto Raptors.

Apart from his basketball life, Bryant won an Academy Award for his short film “Dear Basketball.” Bryant said, “‘Dear Basketball’ was my way of saying thank you to the game that gave me everything.” In addition to the film, he wrote the book “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play” through his multimedia company Granity Studios, a company created “to inspire young minds to dream, achieve and excel.” In an Instagram post Bryant said, “For me I started with a dream. The only way to achieve that dream was to adopt a winning mentality and focus deeply on the mental aspects of the game I loved.”

Photo by Olivier Collet on Unsplash

Throughout his career, he used his talents to spur others on to excellence by branding himself with that “Mamba mentality.” His mentality on and off the court inspired others to work harder to achieve their goals and always aspire to be better. Sports — whether or not you follow the games, know the rules or can even name the players — unite people.

Now, every shot made with a “Kobe!” exclamation after the ball leaves a player’s hands will mean more. Fans will always wear his no. 8 and no. 24 jerseys with pride in honor of the man who was more than just a basketball player — a man who impacted the game of basketball in such a way that it will never be the same.

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