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Remembering Kobe Bryant

Reflecting on the Legacy of the Black Mamba

 

Today (January 26) is the one year mark in passing of basketball legend and cultural icon Kobe Bryant.  Kobe tragically passed away in a helicopter accident along with his daughter Gigi and seven other people including the pilot.

When the news first broke at the top of 2020, the entire world even beyond sports was stunned and devastated by the tragedy.  The group that Kobe was leading was heading to Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy for a tournament he was hosting and coaching in.

Kobe Bean Bryant was born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania to Pam and Joe “Jellybean” Bryant who was also a basketball player.

In his youth, Kobe’s competitive nature that we would later know as the “Mamba Mentality” was cultivated through his love of basketball while living abroad in Italy as his father played internationally.

Kobe turned that early experience from playing abroad into a highly successful career as a High School Basketball star at Lower Merion HS in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

In 1996, Kobe left High School and entered the NBA draft following in the footsteps of Kevin Garnett who also went to the draft from high school.  Bryant would go on to be drafted by the Charlotte Hornets and traded to the Los Angeles Lakers shortly following the pick.

At the start of his career, Kobe was not as dominant or proficient with his game as what he would ultimately be known for.

However, through his laser focus and supreme talent from his “Mamba Mentality”, he refined his abilities and became one of the most feared and respected players.

In his decorated 20 year career with the Lakers, Kobe won 5 titles, MVP, and Finals MVP twice.  He was a perennial All-Star and All-NBA player throughout his career and also holds the second-highest point total in a game with 81 points.

At the end of his career in 2016 following his 60 point exit in his final game, Kobe began to make a profound impact in other areas like Women’s Sports and writing children’s storybooks.

Bryant received an Oscar for his short film “Dear Basketball” which was based on a poem he wrote in 2015 on the eve of his retirement.

In women’s sports, Kobe was a huge advocate for the advancement of their notoriety and player development.  Several WNBA players acknowledged that he admired and respected their craft and he also coached Gigi’s middle school team as well.

The world mourns Kobe’s passing today because his “Mamba Mentality” was something that transcended sports.  His work ethic and tireless pursuit of excellence coupled with his love for his family have made him one of the most iconic figures in modern times.

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