Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. His life was incredible.
Do you remember where you were on January 26th, 2020? You probably woke up on your bed, and were ready for what was really, just supposed to be another Sunday.
The NFL Pro Bowl was slated to be on. The weather was pretty warm. But, if you were in California, you were going to receive the saddest news you’ve received in a while.
On the morning of the 26th, Kobe Bryant and his entourage, flying back from Philadelphia, and watching LeBron James pass him on the all-time scoring list, crashed. The helicopter was extremely close to landing safely, but their pilot couldn’t see clearly enough. This was likely because he flew into the clouds, which qualifies as a federal violation.
Three years later, we remember Kobe Bryant, and what he had already done, and was supposed to continue doing for the game. We remember his incredible daughter, Gianna. We also remember Payton and Sarah Chester, Alyssa, John, and Kerry Altobelli, Christina Mauser, and the pilot, Ara Zobayan.
The Mamba Mentality
Very few players in their sport will play the game with such force, and work so hard, that their style of play is something that players in the next generation will all try to mimic. Bryant was in the gym as much as any player in the game’s history, playing through some incredibly painful injuries, and yet yielding incredible results.
There was the time he managed a streak of four-straight 50-point games after messing up a finger on his shooting hand. Scoring 60 points in 42 minutes of action. Nobody will remember that he shot 50 times, but the five straight baskets he made in the final few minutes to propel the Lakers to victory on what felt like a night that would live in the minds of basketball fans for all of eternity.
Bryant missed more shots than any player in NBA history. Why is that, exactly? Because, he was never afraid of missing a shot, of putting it up and looking to get baskets. It gives him one of the greatest highlight reels in the history of the game, and lead him to being the #4 leading scorer all-time.
Thank You For Everything
Basketball fans near and four poured into California to Bryant’s memorial. To pay tribute to somebody who impacted their life like few basketball players ever have. Michael Jordan energized an entire generation. And the way MJ played, as we saw in The Last Dance, had a huge impact on Kobe, and what he wanted to do on the floor.
Thankfully, we got to watch his entire career. Though he dealt with injuries, he persevered, in a way few could. During the worst era in Lakers history, Bryant was able to lace them up one final time, and manage 60 points with a bad shoulder, and the weight of knowing he would never play again after that day.
His career was iconic. The name will always resonate. The impact is monumental.
It’s hard to comprehend we have been without him in this world for three years. For myself and many huge fans around the world, losing him felt like a punch in the gut. A hard one. A punch that kept repeating itself.
Players changed their jersey number out of respect. Games were canceled. And for some folks, they couldn’t turn on a game for about a week after.
Thank you, Kobe Bryant. The impact you left on the game will never be forgotten. Gone way too soon.
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