In Memoriam: Kobe Bryant

(Image/Getty Images)

The first time I watched Kobe Bryant play basketball I was eight years old. It was his second year in the league and I was a bright-eyed budding NBA fan in a family that still prefers the collegiate game.

Michael Jordan was still the man in his last year with the Chicago Bulls, but everyone who was watching knew Kobe had next, even a short, skinny mid-western kid barely old enough to play with a full ten-foot rim.

I don’t remember how many points he scored or how many shots he took. I don’t remember the date of the game or even the opponent. But I remember the feeling of watching him play. Even his mistakes were captivating. I wanted to be able to do what he could do, and to make it look as easy as he did.

There are, beyond a doubt, tens of millions of others with more or less identical accounts. The outpouring of grief following Bryant’s untimely passing from fans, players, and admirers across the world is reflective of the deep reverence which so many of us will always hold for him.

There will be plenty of time in the coming weeks to recount his achievements, and it would likely take at least that long to get to them all. He was among the greatest scorers, leaders, and winners the game has ever seen, and we cheered for him because of it. But it was how and why he achieved what he did that made us love him.

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He was brilliant, curious, creative, obsessively competitive, and above all absolutely relentless. Spoiled Laker fans always rallied to him because he so eagerly embraced our championship-or-bust, excellence-or-nothing mindset. An entire generation of NBA players came of age armed with their own cherished legends about his work ethic and focus. Professional athletes are famously competitive, but no one ever claimed to work as hard as Kobe Bryant.

None of which should be taken to imply he was a perfect man. He was brash and impatient, especially in his youth. His exacting standards alienated those teammates who failed or refused to live up to them, which in the end amounted to most of the people with whom he ever played.

Yet it was how he reinvented himself in the wake of those mistakes and challenges that inspired us the most. After the blow up of the 2004 superteam that finally ended his playing days with Shaquille O’Neal and the resolution of his court battles, Bryant found himself stuck on mediocre teams and vilified in the media.

Watching O’Neal win an NBA title with the young Dwayne Wade during this time added insult to injury. Bryant’s career could easily have come off the rails under the strain of it all.

Instead, he withdrew into himself and redoubled his focus. If he couldn’t control many of his external circumstances, he could control his own effort and learn from his missteps. He created the alter-ego of the Black Mamba to isolate his personal problems from his performance. He emerged from the experience a better player, teammate, and person.

His reinvention culminated in two additional championships and, more importantly, his emergence as the supreme elder statesman of the NBA. Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and others cited his example from the 2008 Olympic team as essential in their own development into true superstars. Every subsequent cohort of young talent sought his knowledge and advice, and he relished the role.

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For all of us who grew up idolizing Kobe, seeing him respond to extreme stress by learning and growing was an important lesson. The Mamba Mentality became about more than one person overcoming his personal problems to succeed at basketball. It became a symbol of persistence, an archetype for how to face down adversity with poise and intelligence. It made Kobe Bryant a role model in the purest sense: not as a perfect person to emulate, but as a highly imperfect person who showed us how to make ourselves better.

After basketball, Bryant had taken his passion for mentorship and communication to its logical conclusion. He produced children’s videos and stories. He turned his goodbye letter to the game he loved into a short film that won an Oscar. Every indication was that he had only begun to scratch the surface of his post-athletic potential.

There is never a good time to lose a childhood idol. Even so, losing him now seems particularly cruel. We can only imagine and sympathize as much as possible with the awful grief of his family and close friends. For those of us who knew him only as an icon and exceptional public figure, there is nothing for us to do but remember, commiserate, and raise a glass to the memory of a man whose absence will make the world a little darker.

Remembering Kobe Bryant Roundtable: Part 2

(Image/David Crane/Southern California News Group)

We return with part two of the remembering Kobe Bryant round table series. With the out pour of emotion within the Los Angeles Lakers community over the last week, a number of die-hard fans wished to speak about their love, respect and sorrow for the passing of the


Q: What emotions are you currently feeling now about the loss of Kobe?

Matt Evans: “A few days have passed now and the feelings have settled. But it’s still a shock how this could happen to such an iconic, influential human being. Along with his incredibly talented young daughter. Kobe was single-handedly the reason I got into basketball, why my passion for the Lakers is so big, and why every opportunity in basketball has been presented to myself. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Bryant family and also to those of the other 7 involved in the tragedy.” 

Jamie Cox: “I am still really struggling to get my head around it all. There are brief moments at work or home when other things take over and I forget for a few minutes but then I go back on social media and it all becomes far too real again. Going to take some time for it all to sink in.”

Nick Jones: “I have gone through stages of hurting, sadness, confusion, and emptiness. I’m starting to accept it now but still get emotional and tearful when seeing the players and ex-teammates reacting the way they have.”

Conor Hayward: “Kobe’s passing has affected me in a way that I didn’t see possible, I never thought I’d cry over the death of someone I’d never met before but I guess that’s a true testament for what he meant to me and for what he did for all of our lives. Kobe’s passing will go down as one of those horrible engraved memories that you can never budge, I’ll always remember where I was and what I was doing when the news was broken to me. It’s been 5 full days since this tragedy occurred and I’m beginning to come to terms with the fact that the pain his loss brings will never go but in time the Laker Nation family will grow and adapt and use his passing as motivation to strive for more.”

Mark Burland: “I’ve had a few days to digest this now. We “knew” Kobe because of basketball. He was a phenomenal player. But we said goodbye to Kobe the baller on his terms when he dropped 60. What makes me sad now is to see the reactions of those who knew him. Above that, those who were close to him – Rob, Jeannie, etc. And then above that still, to think about the pain inflicted on his family. That isn’t personal to me. Knowing Kobe the basketball player wasn’t the same as knowing Kobe the dad, husband, son, friend. I feel deeply sad for those that knew him that way, and the same for his daughter too.”

Steve Foster: “Man, pure shock still… I’m sure we’ve all suffered loss before, be it family, friends or even a celebrity figure you look up to… but even for somebody I didn’t know personally, this feels different… maybe it was the way he went… taken so early and completely out of the blue… when somebody passes away from illness, etc, obviously, it’s still gut-wrenching but, in a way, you can kind of come to terms with it before they go.

You grieve with them, you make the most of their time and look back on their life but you kind of know its coming so you get the chance to say goodbye… this was a total shock, like a bad dream. My thoughts are with his beautiful family, I can’t imagine how tough it is for them losing a husband/father and an amazing daughter/sister.”

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Q: What is your fondest Kobe Bryant memory?

Matt: “Mine would be going to see him play, for the first and last time. I was studying in New York at the time and a friend and I took a Mega bus up to Boston for the Lakers-Celtics game. I was truly in awe watching my basketball idol play. We got blown out but I didn’t care. I got to see Kobe play! I will carry that with me for life. The second-best memory (if you don’t mind me sharing) is his final game. 60 POINTS. WOW. I don’t think I need to say much more about that game!” 

Jamie: “Sadly, I didn’t have an NBA League Pass during the Championship seasons as only had this for the last few years. My fondest memory is, therefore, the 60-point game in his farewell game against the Jazz in 2016. I got up to watch it live and couldn’t believe how he finished the game, it was mesmerising. He put every single last drop of energy into his performance and went out the complete winner that he was.” 

Nick: “100% the shots vs Phoenix in 2006 playoffs to take the game into overtime and then the game-winner. It was my very first game watching from start to finish on Sky even though I’d followed Lakers for years. I fell in love with basketball and cemented my Laker fandom.”

Conor: “Wow, where do you even start with this question? I could sit here and write about all those spectacular moments piece by piece but for me, it would be Kobe’s final game against Utah, emotions were high that evening, I finished work at about 11 pm and came home ready for the 3 am tip-off, I knew from the get-go this that was going to be a mix of emotions but who could write something like that?! 60 POINTS, 60 in his final game.

I watch that game over and over at least every 6 months or so but in the last few days, I’ve probably studied his footwork from that game to a key. I loved Kobe for many reasons and one of them was because he knew how to put on a show and on April 13th, 2016 he rewrote history.”

Mark: “Easy, When Kobe compared DJ Mbenga to sloth from the Goonies.

“Hey you guys!”

Steve: “There are so many to think of, that’s one of the best things right now… scoring 81, the 5 championships, beating the Celtics(!), the friendship with Pau Gasol, the sheer, unstoppable, dynamic duo of Kobe & Shaq, the battles with some of the greatest to ever play the game… the list goes on and on! People throw the term ‘legend’ around pretty freely, but Kobe was, is and always will be a true legend.

I started playing basketball around 11 or 12 years old, at the time in the ’90s, I watched everything I could, never really supported one team, the Magic, the Bulls, Lakers, even the Knicks(!) were all good to watch. I decided to be a Laker fan the day Shaq signed, then this rookie straight from high school comes along, just a couple of years older than me… I watched some tapes and thought “this guy looks pretty good… going to be cool if he stays In LA with Shaq…” I never thought I’d be idolizing him and watching Kobe dominate the league for 20 years on my team!

His legacy will live on in the players today and the fans, that is something that doesn’t happen often,  if ever.”

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(Image/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)

Q: What did Kobe Bryant mean to the greater NBA community?

Matt: “Kobe was so much more than an NBA player. He was bigger than basketball. Yes, what he did on the court was incredible and inspiring. But he did a lot for charity, especially through the Make-a-Wish outlet. Which was special to follow along with. He was also an accomplished businessman, author, poet. The man even won an Oscar! That was just as, if not, even more, inspiring. But most importantly, he was an accomplished father. He loved his children and you can tell that they adored their father. It’s truly a tragedy.”

Jamie:  “To me, he is a complete god and hero to myself and all Laker fans but the last couple of days have shown how much he meant to the whole NBA community. Every single game played since the news broke has had some form of glowing tribute to him and for a team like the Mavs to say nobody will ever wear the number 24 again when he never even played for them shows how highly thought of he was by everyone in the game. I thought that was an amazing gesture from them.”

Nick: “Everything. You can see it on everyone’s faces at the start of games and every interview. Even those who didn’t play against him or didn’t see him play in his prime. He was a mentor, friend, and idol to a lot of people involved in the sport.”

Conor: “Kobe Bean Bryant was my generation’s signature player for the NBA, he was involved in any conversation that included the NBA greats and was name-dropped in every interview with NBA players past and present, he was an idol to so many. Sadly, a lot of the great stories are never told until that person is gone but some of the stories we’ve heard from players lately have just been incredible, Kobe would lend a helping hand to even his biggest ‘rival’ and would help train and workout with any prospect that showed that true Mamba Mentality.”

Mark: “Anthony Irwin mentioned this a few days ago. The NBA lost a true ambassador for the sport in Kobe. He could reach international audiences in a way few true American sports stars ever have. He studied the game, respected the game, elevated the game. He knew the game was bigger than himself, but also had the awareness to know that what he gave to the game had value too. He would have mentored many, many more players (male and female) I’m sure. Basketball suffered a great loss.”

Steve: “Competition and inspiration. That dogged determination to be the best left a mark on even the casual fan, everyone knows his name… Most of the current players styled their game on his and studied film of him, just like Kobe did with MJ and other greats… That alone is a testament to the man… he lives on in all of us, from the fans to the best athletes in the world.”

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Q: How should we all remember Kobe Bryant moving forward?

Matt: “That Mamba Mentality. To work hard, achieve your dreams, don’t let anybody doubt you, do what you love, and so on. They are a few lessons he taught me. A few of an endless amount. Kobe will live on through all of those that found inspiration in him. If we could adopt 1% of his mindset, we can achieve what we want in life. I thank Kobe for that and I will live by his words. I already did.” 

Jamie: “It’s very difficult at this time to feel anything other than grief but once that passes a bit, we should all remember Kobe as a truly amazing Basketball player and athlete who gave absolutely everything to his chosen profession with a drive and passion for it that has probably never been seen before.”

Nick: “As a brilliant basketball player, the hardest worker imaginable and an amazing father. He had an unrivalled love of the sport and his dedication has inspired generations.”

Conor: “In time I hope we can take this awful event and use it for good, this season and every season will be for Kobe. August 24th now has a whole new meaning. It’s a cliche when people say, “what would he want you to do?” But at this moment I truly believe that Kobe would want his family, his teammates and his fans to make peace with his loss and to strive for everything that we want in life, make your dreams a reality. It’s still early days and tonight’s game against Portland will be tough for everyone but we will get through this, his teammates will get through this, Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri will get through this, the Mamba will live on through every one of us.”

Mark: “His legacy is a player is secure. It was set years ago. I hope his legacy as father and mentor lives on through the Mamba academy and related charities. As Laker fans, we get to remember him as someone who helped bring great joy. He did it at the highest level, for one team, for nearly 2 decades. The statue had better be pretty amazing (and I hope it includes Gigi too). On that note – I hope that the Lakers figure out a way of retiring Gigi’s jersey. If the rest of the league decides to retire 24/8 I hope that happens organically – but I do think no one should ever be allowed to wear 24 or 8 at Staples (looking at you, Paul George).”

Steve: “Again, his legacy is there as an inspiration to current players and fans alike, whether you’re an athlete or an accountant, the ‘Mamba Mentality’ can inspire you to be the best person you can be. I know I’m going to continue to use it in my life, both professionally and personally… As a father, I want to do the best I can for my son and if I can be half the dad Kobe was to his kids I’ll be happy! Also, making sure my son knows Kobe’s name, even if the only time he says it out loud is when he throws his socks in the laundry bin, it’ll make me smile.”

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Q: If you could give Kobe a message right now, what would you say?

Matt: “This segment could be never-ending, to be honest, but I would say thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And thank you again. You made a young, wide-eyed, intrigued boy develop a passion for an incredible sport and franchise. One that was not a natural progression being from the UK. That has built many opportunities in the sport of basketball for myself. And I thank you for that. Also, just thank you for the memories. The countless on the court memories. You inspired many generations and will continue in years to come. We will never forget you.”

Jamie: “I’d probably just say thanks for being you and for being so great and for providing me and the Lakers Nation with a host of awesome memories that will live with us all forever. R.I.P Kobe.”

Nick: “You have been my idol for 15 years. I miss you more than words can express. You are a true inspiration to millions across the world. I love you man.”

Conor: “Kobe, thank you.

You meant more than you can ever imagine to me, the effect you had on my life wasn’t just like my favorite basketball player, it was more than that, you were my idol and I idolized everything you attempted and accomplished. I can’t even tell you how often I use the number 24 out of pure love, whether it be making a new username or even something as crazy as throwing done some money on the roulette table, 24 is always at the forefront of my mind. Did somebody ask me for two random colors? They’re getting purple and gold regardless of the choice. The point of what I’m trying to say is that I live and breathe the Lakers, not because of the colors, not because of the numbers not because of the location but because Kobe Bryant made me fall in love with the Lakers organization. 

We love and miss you every day and you’ll never be forgotten, thank you for the blood sweat and tears, thank you for being Kobe Bryant.”

Mark: “Impossible to say. I’m a religious person, I believe he will live again!”

Steve: “Thank you, for everything.”

My Inspiration, Kobe

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Dear Kobe,

I never knew you personally, I’ve never met you or talked to you or had any interaction with you. Yet somehow, someway, you made an impact on my life more than I like to admit. Like so many others, I fell in love with your electrifying play-style, your charismatic smile, and all those post-game interviews that made me feel like working myself to the bone.

Kobe, you were the epitome of the grind. All us fans envied your dedication and passion to the sport of basketball. My very first article was about you, my first jersey was yours, and I would always be that one guy who mentioned your name during any NBA debate, whether you were a part of it or not. It was your highlights and your speeches that got me through any tough times. You were my idol, my role model, and my inspiration.

When you left basketball, I thought you would never be the same. There was no more platform for us to see your greatness anymore, but almost instantly, you made major strides in other industries. Winning Oscars, writing books, helping athletes, you brought the same level of excellence to everything you did. But of course you did, because that’s what the Mamba Mentality was to you, the constant pursuit of absolute excellence.

Kobe, you were the driving force behind so many people. You helped me pick myself up when I was down, helped me stay positive when nothing was going right, turn nothing into something. But now you’re gone, and there’s no driving force behind me to help me jump over this hurdle.

You’ve impacted so many people and brought everyone together, lovers, haters, friends, enemies, every-bodies, and nobodies. You may be gone, but you will forever be an icon to the city of Los Angeles, the Lakers, and the world.

Your Mamba Mentality will live on within all of your fans, and I pray that one day I can make someone as happy as you’ve made me all these years.

Thank you for everything,

Srikar

Love You Always, Kobe

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Dear Kobe,

First of all, before we get into anything else, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for coming into my life when I was a 2-year-old Laker fan, making me fall in love with the game at that young age.

Seeing you with Shaq and winning 3 championships cemented my love for the Forum Blue and Gold. The Number 8, and afro were iconic. The defensive chops, the crossover that got Scottie Pippen out of his shoes before ‘The Lob’. The way you took over the finals against the Pacers after Diesel fouled out was only something you could do. And it was only the beginning.

When you switched to 24, that’s when the second act started. The Black Mamba. Vino, as you aged gracefully. Another 2 championships with Pau and Lamar Odom and you did it all with class and humility. You also beat those guys from Boston in green that we will always be grateful for. 2012-13, when you willed a depleted, incredibly hurt the team to the playoffs; averaging 46 minutes a game until your body just said enough.

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What you did for USA basketball, and brought that back to the forefront was amazing. Without you, the Redeem team never would have happened, the 2012 Olympics were great too. And we would not have had that iconic game against Spain. I just hope you apologized to Pau after the fact.

As a father and outside of the basketball realm, you were in your zone. Still, the same Mamba Mentality that we saw and loved as a player but focusing it into different areas. People work for an Academy Award for DECADES, and then there was you, Kobe Bean, coming in clutch 2 years after retiring, conquering that world too. Your bond with Gianna was special and she would have grown up to be special too.

Mambacita was going to run wild in the NCAA and WNBA and be the person to carry along your legacy, be the best ever and have just as many records as the Mamba had. She had the same glint in her eye as you did, and you could just tell how proud you were of her, and that her excelling was more important to you than anything you had accomplished in your career.

I just want to say thank you, Kobe. Thank you for your 20 years in LA, for your 18 All-Stars, for your MVP, 2 Finals MVP’s, 33,643 Points, 7047 Rebounds and 6306 Assists. Thank you for the 5 titles you brought to our franchise. Thank you for instilling a Mamba Mentality into everything I do, making sure that I’m never satisfied with 2nd place. You gave this Bosnian Boy in Manchester a license to dream and taught him to work hard for each of those dreams to come true…

I still can’t talk about you in the past tense, and I still can’t come to grips with the fact there is no more Kobe Bryant in the world I live in. You wouldn’t want me to be distraught, you would have wanted all of us to instill Mamba Mentality even in these tough times and this is what I’m going to do. All my achievements will now be dedicated to you, my hero and idol.

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Hopefully, our paths will cross someday, in a place that none of us understand.

As you beautifully put, ‘I’ll always be that kid, With the rolled-up socks, Garbage can in the corner, 05 seconds on the clock, Ball in my hands.’ All because of you.

Love you always,

Alen

Remembering Kobe Bryant Roundtable: Part 1

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Here at Lakers Fanclub UK, we are mourning the loss of the larger than life, once in a generation talent, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe “Bean” Bryant. The loss of Kobe, his daughter Gianna and the 7 other souls that perished on Sunday 26th January 2020 has had a profound effect on the Lakers community and has every person who has heard about this tragedy hugging their loved ones a little bit tighter.

We have a group of die-hard Lakers fans who are understandably incredibly upset and, broken-hearted about the loss of Kobe. We love and respect every member of our Lakers community and felt it was our duty to allow some of the members of our team to express their grief to try and heal.

Rest in peace to Kobe and Gianna Bryant, John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah and Payton Chester, and Ara Zobayan.

 The nine victims of the tragic helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant have been pictured

Q: What emotions are you currently feeling now about the loss of Kobe?

Amandeep Rai: “I think it’s kind of setting in now that this isn’t a hoax that we see from TMZ. Suddenly a dark cloud has formed above my head where I can’t escape this feeling- I guess it’s grief that will drift off eventually but it’s still pretty raw at the moment.”

Cole Pollard: “Still raw. I’m constantly going between being numb and crying. I just keep going back to it not being fair in my head. The man Kobe Bryant gave us so so much. He did not deserve this.

On Sunday night, a couple of hours after the news broke, I was scrolling through twitter trying to take in what was happening. The basketball world falling to its knees. Then I saw it, a video of a helicopter tail spinning and crashing into the Calabasas hills. Oh, how I wish I never saw that video, it keeps replaying in my head. All I can think is the panic and chaos those poor souls went through before impact. I hope they can rest now. And yet I can’t let Kobe rest.

As I type this it’s 1:30 in the morning, I have work at 8 tomorrow. Yet I am sat in my living room no thought of going to bed. Watching the 81 he gave us. I tear up with every shot he makes. One, in particular, 1 minute 15 seconds left in the 3rd Kobe makes a steal as Toronto tries to advance the ball, he controls it and throws it down hard on the rim. That embodies Kobe, he made it look easy. But it wasn’t. It was his hunger and drive to be the greatest ever that made everything he did look so effortless. Yet you could tell it was so exhausting.”

Christopher Sherwood: “I can’t sugar coat it. I feel empty. Kobe was always an escape for me from the harsh reality of real life. No matter how tough the day, I knew I could stick on the Laker game and there was a fairly good chance he could cheer me up. Losing him, especially like this, is a harsh reminder of how short life is.”

Jonathan Kiernan: “I felt physically sick when I heard the terrible news about Kobe Bryant. He has been my idol for 20 years, I have grown up with him and have become an adult with him. I had always thought that Kobe would still be around long into my older years and he would be a Bill Russell esque figure in the NBA, dropping pearls of wisdom and making sure that every player he comes into contact with knows what has come before them.”

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Q: What is your fondest Kobe Bryant memory?

Amandeep: “My fondest Kobe memory was when his jerseys were retired, I don’t know why but I felt that scene gave us all closure and kind of somewhat closed his chapter and era in the Lakers, a fitting send-off.”

Cole: “The final game, he gave us everything man, emptied the tank. I remember it as I hadn’t fallen deep for basketball yet. I remember thinking to myself, tonight is gonna be something special, something real.

Up until that point, I would rarely stay up for games. But that night I went to bed early, I must have set about six alarms, and I got up and watched that magic. I remember the chills as he got hot. The pure elation as he came up, went around that screen and gave us, the Lakers, the NBA, the World, one last game-winner.”

Christopher: “It would have to be being in the building with my dad when he dropped 62 on Dirk and the Mavs in just three quarters. The energy inside Staples that night was simply incredible. It was almost as if every shot he took was certain to go in.

A close second is winning the 2010 finals and watching my best friend (a Celtics fan) slump out of my living room into the night at 5 am to embark on a 30-minute miserable walk home. Victory never tasted sweeter.” 

Jonathan: “My fondest memory of Kobe has to be winning his 5th ring against the Boston Celtics in 2010. Kobe did not shoot well that game but he helped anyway he could by grabbing numerous boards and playing tough defense.

Watching the final buzzer sound and Kobe mounting the scorer’s table will forever be etched into my memory as long as I live.”

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Q: What did Kobe Bryant mean to the greater NBA community?

Amandeep: “Kobe Bryant far surpassed the NBA community, surpassed borders/cultures and sports. He was and still is an icon. His sporting career speaks for itself, but his mentality and his attitude to being a parent is something everyone can learn from.”

Cole: “All you have to do is watch the first 32 seconds of every game and you have your answer. It moves me to see the teams and the fans, that Kobe relished in upsetting all these years, put all that aside and recognize that a Father, a Husband, a Son, a Brother, a Teammate, and an Icon perished tragically and suddenly on Sunday. Not to mention a young woman who was going to change the way the world looks at the WNBA.

This is more than Basketball, this is a sign that life is short. It comes and goes in a moment. It doesn’t matter what you have in any other aspect of life. If you have family, you have everything. Kobe had that. The world knows and appreciates that.”

Christopher: “He was a legend in every sense of the word. Larger than life. You only have to look around the association to see the impact Kobe had. Today’s players grew up on Kobe (as I did) and his imprint is on so much all around the league. It will be interesting to see what the league does to commemorate him moving forward.”

Jonathan: “From the sheer outpour of emotion in the NBA community it is incredibly clear to see how highly thought of he was not just in the NBA but worldwide.

Kobe gave a helping hand to those willing to learn. He demanded excellence from each player he spoke to or any person who wished to improve their focus, leadership or dedication to their craft.

The NBA has lost a titan of the game. I am firmly a believer that they should make Kobe the NBA logo. A Laker legend replacing a Laker legend (Jerry West, who drafted Kobe) as the logo. It would be poetic and a terrific and long-lasting recognition of a player who gave everything he had to the game of basketball.”

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Q: How should we all remember Kobe Bryant moving forward?

Amandeep: “A loving father, teacher, guardian, and student also. The greatest laker to put on a uniform and perhaps the most driven athlete/writer that I’ve seen in my lifetime.”

Cole: “Mamba Mentality, we all know it. Its a way of life, a roadmap of a champion. Kobe was the pure embodiment of a champion. Never would he hide from the greatest moments. Even as a young man he would try his best to rise to any occasion. We all know about the air balls. I remember Jerry West said “If somebody would have shot an airball on our team, and shot a second one. They ain’t gonna shoot the third one. He was fearless. I think that’s one of the things that spurred him to greatness, he wasn’t going to allow himself to fail.” And so as he grew as a player, as a man. he no longer had to try, he just did. It just happened. Suddenly a kid who came straight out of high school was a man. and that man was a stone-cold killer, with a glassy stare to boot. I urge anyone reading this to continue his legacy. Any decision you have to make. Ask yourself,
‘What Would Kobe Do?’.”

Christopher: “As an inspiration. Not just as a basketball player, but as a father and a human being. If you apply his work ethic to any task you need to in the future there’s a pretty good chance you will succeed.”

Jonathan: “An easy answer would be to say that he should be remembered as one of the greatest players of all time. A person who pushed the game to new heights and who didn’t waste a single ounce of talent he had.

That’s the easy and popular answer.

I prefer to remember Kobe as a family man, as a person who loved his family with his whole heart and who took greater pride in seeing his family happy than he ever did winning any game or award.”

 Q: If you could give Kobe a message right now, what would you say?

Amandeep: “Thank you, Kobe, learning about you and your mindset allowed me to prosper in my own life, I thank you for the years you gave in the purple and gold, and I thank you for becoming a role model in which I can focus on in my industry. You will be forever remembered, we will carry on your legacy. Rest in peace GOAT.”

Cole: “I spoke to him through my medium on Sunday night. If I could speak to him again, writing this 24 hours later. I would tell him “I’ll come to speak to you again soon” and I’d tell him again “Thank You, Love You, Cole.”

Christopher: “Thank you for all the memories and for bringing so much joy to my life. To say you will be missed will be an incredible understatement. Love you Mamba x”

Jonathan: “Thank you, Kobe, for giving me one of the greatest passions in my life. Your ability to push through adversity, injury and overwhelming odds has given so many people hope to push past the difficulties in their life and come out the other side wiser and better people.

You taught people to dream big but you have got to work harder than everyone else in the room for it. Just know that the Lakers community will never forget your name and when my time comes to visit the pearly gates, just know, I got next.”

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My Hero, Kobe

This piece on Kobe Bryant has been sent in by a Twitter follower of ours, Chris Sherwood.

Chris wanted us to share this with you all. We are very thankful that he has taken the time to put together such a moving piece on Kobe.


What can I say about Kobe “Bean” Bryant? To put it simply he was my hero. 

When I was having a tough time, whether it be at school, or later on in life at work. I always knew that I had Kobe and the Lakers to lean on.

I lost my father 6 years ago, some of the fondest memories I have with him are the two of us, sat at Staples taking in the greatness of Kobe Bryant.  I was lucky as a teenager to spend a fair bit of time in Southern California, and for an English Laker fan this meant we HAD to soak up as much Laker basketball as humanly (and financially) possible! 

We were in the building for some great games such as his 62 point game in 3 quarters against the Mavs, game 3 of the 2006 Series against the Suns, and the Lakers-Celtics game on Christmas Day (where we got our first taste of revenge after the 2008 finals).

My best friend is a Celtics fan and we have spoken about our shared grief. During his career we thought of Kobe on opposite ends of the spectrum as hero and the villain, but what he stood for as a competitor meant so much to both of us.

Kobe Bryant meant the absolute world to me, and I know inspired so many people all across the world. 

Rest in peace Mamba, Mambacita, and all those lost in the tragic accident. 

I’ve attached a couple of images. One of a photo I have up on my wall of the 62 point game with the ticket in the frame.

And also a photo from that game with myself and my father in the crowd (main article image).

P.S. My dog is named after Kobe!

Thanks,

Chris 

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