When James Naismith invented the sport “Basketball” he wouldn’t have ever knew, how much impact it would have bring in to the world. Where in now, dozens of countries, watch and play the game which requires the player to shoot a ball into a hoop. Thousands, and even millions of fans around the globe indulges in watching the National Basketball Association (NBA), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and other smaller leagues, loved the game, and the people who played great in it, but one man shined higher than the other, and his name is Kobe Bean Bryant.
The game of basketball, requires alot of skill. You need to have total control of your body while dribbling a ball as if making it a part of you. You need to have high I.Q. for the game, taking in every movement that there is to know, every rule you can use in order to get an edge against your opponents. You need to be physically fit, have great athleticism, agility, power, flexibility, height, jump and so much more and one thing that every player must have is the will to win, the desire to take home the “W”, to have pride in your own style of play. To have that killer instinct whenever you step foot inside that 94 by 50 feet floor, Kobe Bryant has all of that, He’s got things even greater than those that proved to be amazing, and at times, ridiculous when he does his magic on the court.
Millions of fans loved Kobe alot cause he has the will to win that cannot be matched by any other player. His desire to win, His fierce and deadly personality that translates on and of the court, whether it’s a real NBA match, a scrimmage, or a friendly 1v1 game, Kobe always wants to win. Bryant’s competetiveness translated into him, having a legendary work ethic, instead of going to bars and clubs, he goes to the gym and shoot some shots. If he sees his opponent, practicing early before game time, he will practice even harder. Hence the monicker, “Black Mamba” which Kobe named himself after the second longest venoumous snake and embodied his world renowned “Mamba mentality”.
Kobe entered the spotlight of NBA when he jumped straight from highschool, skipped college and went to NBA to play ball. He was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets on their 1st round, 13th pick on the year 1996. The prodigy, was then immediately traded to the prominent franchise “Los Angeles Lakers” wearing number “8” which he later on changed to “24” and he then spent his 20 years playing solely for the purple and gold. Kobe, as early as he can, that his killer mentality.. “Mamba mentality” can dominate even in the big stage.
Kobe became an all-star player during his 2nd year from the team, considering that he’s a bench player during those times. He averaged 15.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists at the shooting guard position. He later on nabbed 18x all-star appearances, 2x NBA scoring titles, 15x All-NBA, 12x All-Defensive, 1996-1997 All-Rookie, 4x all-star MVP’s, 2007-2008 MVP, 5x NBA Champ and 2x Finals MVP averaging 25 points, 5.2 rebounds 4.7 assists across 1346 games and alot of blood, sweat and injuries across his legendary adventure, Kobe was one of the favorite contenders to be named as the g.o.a.t., or “The Greatest ( player ) of All Time”.
Kobe announced his retirement on 2015 by His short animated poem “Dear Basketball” telling everybody how he loved the game of basketball and how he gave it his all, at the end part of it, he said that he still wants to play ball, but that his body can’t anymore and that he will give it his all on his last year on the floor. Kobe averaged 17.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists even after getting beat by career ending injuries, Kobe played. He went all out, and on his last game on April 13, 2016, He went for 60 points on 22-50 shooting, with a game winning basket against the Utah Jazz that made alot of grown men cry. It was so emotional that it was marked as the greatest retirement game ever by any athlete.
On January 26, 2020, on a Sunday morning, Kobe, with his daughter Gianna Bryant a.k.a. “Mambacita” a daughter who loved his father’s sport and the one who tried to emulate him the most, died on a helicopter ride on Calabasas, California along with 7 other. The world renowned basketball player died in a freak accident where nobody have the slightest idea that it would even happen. Kobe again, made alot of people cry. The world mourned his passing as if some part of their family died. The NBA mourned Kobe’s death the most as dozens of tributes to the late Laker’s star arise. Players where shocked, and lost their composure for the game and a lot, hoped, that it was just a bad bad dream.
Kobe was a not just a great player, he is a great person. A great friend, family, mentor, ambassador, husband, father. Kobe changed the way the game was played, Kobe influenced many that whenever some of us shoots a crumpled paper in the trash bin we shout “Kobe”, he changed the way of the game and ispired many to be killers on the floor. How many pro players aspire to be as dedicated, as deadly and as focused as he can be. Kobe got to be a guy in his own league, unmatched, unparalled not in his God given gifts, but by his will to win, his dedication to his craft, his LOVE for the game. Kobe was something else, he is different that is why is surpassed many. Legends don’t die, they live on, in our hearts. Live on, Mamba.