The Scorecrow Staff | January 27th, 2020
After the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and eight other people in a helicopter accident on Sunday morning, many of our writers wanted to share a few words about Kobe’s impact on us.
Alex Kielar: Kobe Bryant meant a lot to me growing up. I fell in love with basketball and the Lakers because of him. I saw him take everything with grace and hard work and have always wanted to be like him. We all should. I witnessed him bring two straight championships to the Lakers in 2009 and 2010 when I was old enough to remember. He was an icon and he WAS the Lakers and WAS basketball. His legacy will continue to live on and I will continue to live with the “Mamba Mentality”.
Brandon Braasch: Having never met Kobe, I can’t tell you first hand how good of a role model he was. I can tell you, though, that just watching NBA games you can see it. The “Mamba Mentality” is in so many players. My favorite player is Buddy Hield who is also number 24 which is because of Kobe. I recently saw a video of Hield finally getting to meet his role model and it was awesome. The joy on his face as a kid in college. Guys like Kyrie Irving who couldn’t even play against the Knicks today because Bryant meant that much to him shows how much he means to everyone.
As a kid, I was never a huge Kobe Bryant fan. That doesn’t mean I didn’t respect the hell out of him. I remember multiple times in high school wadding up a paper ball and yelling “Kobe” as I shot it into the trash can. He impacted so many basketball players and just people in general. Everyone at some point in their life has to have the “Mamba Mentality.” He meant so much more than just basketball too so many people. R.I.P Kobe Bean Bryant you will be missed.
Troy Pierce: It’s hard to put into words exactly what Kobe embodied. I think the best way to describe Kobe is by calling him a warrior. Whatever had to be done to win, even if in the most trivial sense, he did it. Without backing down. Without complaining. He just simply did it. Fighting through injuries, he understood that pain came with success. I will truly miss watching Kobe Bryant grow into the elder statesman of the NBA that he was growing into.
Josh Elias: As a kid growing up as a massive Trail Blazer fan in the 2000s, the Lakers – and Kobe in particular – were “the enemy.” It feels like every time I watched him, he broke my heart in one way or another. He was the one guy I feared watching matchups against, and the one athlete I respected most as both a player and a person, even if I couldn’t bring myself to root for him.
There was something personal between Kobe and Portland… going both ways. An immense sense of simultaneous hatred and love that I can’t find the words to explain. Right at the end of his last game in Portland at the Rose Garden, as he walked past the opposing fans toward the locker room, a fan in one of the front rows yelled out to him, “I’m going to miss hating you,” and he responded by turning to that fan, giving a knowing wink, and jested back, “I’m going to miss loving having you hate me.”
I strongly remember thinking to myself, when he announced his retirement, that while the NBA was losing one of the most remarkable people to ever step foot on a basketball court, at least there was the silver lining that Kobe Bryant wouldn’t ever break my heart again.
Boy, was I wrong. I really, really wish I hadn’t been wrong.
Mike Fanelli We can all talk about his accomplishments on the court. His five championships, MVP awards, ranking on the all-time scoring list, and even where he ranks in the G.O.A.T debate. However, all of that mattered before the tragedy on Sunday. That moment when you heard the news and then found it was true, will sit with many of us for years to come. For a lot of people, we grew up watching Kobe and the Lakers’ three-peat in the early 2000s. I became a basketball fan because of those Laker teams. However, as I stated earlier, all of that no longer matters. What matters now is what Kobe, not the player, but the person did.
Everyone knows about the Colorado situation in 2003 and I’m not going to argue with anyone’s view on it; you’re entitled to your opinion. However, in the latter part of his life, Kobe showed what all people should strive to be; the best they could be. As a parent, as a husband, as a role model, pre and post-career, Kobe put a goal on himself and was refused to not reach it. From wanting to be a good father and spending every possible minute with his kids to the videos of him helping out at a traffic accident a few months back, Kobe always showed a passion to step up and put others ahead of himself.
It’s a shame it takes a tragedy for us to realize we need to love each other and understand that our differences don’t matter, but it does. Let’s not forget how fragile life is and how quickly it can end. Tell your family you love them, don’t end a conversation without doing so. My prayers go out to Kobe, his daughter Gianna, the seven other people on that helicopter, and their loved ones. They are in God’s hands now and let’s all spend the rest of the time we have in this world, living it the way Kobe did; by being the best you and putting others first.
Main Image Credit: Photo by Harry How/Getty Images