Remembering Kobe Bryant

January 31, 2020

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Not many players have impacted the game of basketball the same way Kobe Bryant did. The way he changed the game on and off the court will be remembered forever.

With the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA draft, the Charlotte Hornets selected Bryant from Lower Merion High School, making him the first guard to be drafted out of high school. Shortly after, Bryant was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers where he began his legendary 20 year career.

During his time with the Lakers organization, Bryant, otherwise known as the Black Mamba, won five championships, two finals MVPs, one league MVP, became the Lakers all-time scoring leader, was selected to 18 continuous all-star games and won two Olympic gold medals.

Bryant had many career defining moments such as his 81 point performance and shooting free throws while dealing with a torn Achilles tendon. In the last game of his career, Mamba went out on a high note, scoring 60 points. 

After his retirement, Bryant still had many achievements such as becoming the first player to ever have two numbers retired. In 2018 he won an Oscar for the best animated short for Dear Basketball, a film based on a poem he wrote.

Recently, the world was shocked to hear tragic news about the NBA legend.

On Sunday Jan 26, NBA legend Kobe Bryant passed away at the age of 41 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. Along with Bryant was his 13 year old daughter, Gianna, and seven other people who also died in the crash. The helicopter was on its way to Gianna’s travel basketball game when it unexpectedly crashed into a hillside near Malibu. 

The heartbreaking news brought the sports world to tears as fans gathered outside of the Staples Center and held a memorial. NBA teams took eight and 24 second clock violations at the beginning of their games to honor the late legend. Many people took to social media to express their feelings as well. 

Along with the rest of the world, staff and students at HHS were also heartbroken to hear the tragic news.

“Kobe did a lot for the women’s game. He really cared about sports regardless of gender and he was trying to get the same attention for women’s sports that was for guys sports, so that meant a lot to me and other women,” said Paige Bueckers, senior.

Bueckers had a personal connection to Bryant which is why his passing was so impactful to her.

“He followed me a couple months ago on Instagram and we started talking. We talked about working out this summer, so I was planning on flying out to LA,” said Bueckers.

Ms. Fatuma Ali, english, spent her childhood watching the Mamba almost every night but had a different opinion on Bryant than most people. 

“I was living in Calif. during the Lakers 3-peat run and I was a Laker fan, but I hated Kobe. I thought he was selfish and a showboat so Shaq was my favorite player on the team,” said Ali.

Bryant influenced many people whether they are a fan of him or not.

“As I got older I started admiring the fact that there was never anything that was going to stop him from achieving his goals. The fact that he was willing to put in way more hours of practice than others was very inspirational,” said Ali.

Along with his nickname developed the term “Mamba Mentality.” It developed from Bryant’s never give up attitude.

“The Mamba Mentality was something important I learned from him. His philosophy was that even if his team was down 12 points and he missed his last six shots he is still going to take that seventh shot. Some people see that as evidence that he was a ball hog but his understanding every time is that nobody can do what he is doing better than him, therefore he needs to be the one to do it,” said Ali.

Bryant left a legacy that will be remembered forever. He was not only known as one of the best basketball players in history but as a mentor, role model and most importantly a father.

I just want to make him and Gigi proud and make the women’s game as big as he imagined it to be,” said Bueckers.

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