Remembering Kobe Bryant

To reflect on Kobe Bryant and his legacy on the day of his memorial by Jay Serrano

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Jay Serrano, Sports Writer

It has been almost a month, and honestly, it still does not feel real.  

I personally did not realize the impact Kobe Bryant had on me until I began to write this. It has taken me awhile to find the right words, so I will do my best to honor his legacy.

Kobe Bean Bryant was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but spent his early childhood in Italy where his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, was playing professionally at the time. He attended Lower Merion High School and declared for the NBA draft right after his senior year in 1996 where he got drafted 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac. Bryant would go on to have a historic 20-year career for the Lakers. Bryant won five  NBA championships along with two Finals MVP awards, 18 All-Star appearances, 15 All-NBA selections, 12 All-Defensive team selections, and a regular season MVP award in 2008. 

This unfortunate tragedy shed a light on the impact Kobe Bryant had in the world. Everyone from athletes such as Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Tom Brady, to musicians and actors, such as Beyonce, John Legend, Marc Anthony,  Jonah Hill, Jack Nicholson, to even President Donald Trump. Even countries such as Italy, the Philippines, and China dedicated murals to celebrate the life of Kobe. 

His reach stretched way beyond basketball in his overall teachings of a “Mamba Mentality,” which encouraged people to have a no-nonsense work ethic and to not let excuses be the reason you do not achieve your goals.

The most memorable moment for me was the 2009 NBA Finals when the Orlando Magic played the Lakers. While I was hopeful Orlando could pull off the victory, watching the series, I marveled at how unstoppable Kobe was and realized the Magic just did not have enough to slow him down. 

He dominated the series in a way I have not seen any player do before. Even though I was upset at the loss, he gained my respect when it came to being one of the All-Time greats in NBA history. Kobe was my generation’s Michael Jordan – a legit photocopy of arguably the greatest player of all time. 

We can all recall shooting balled up paper or plastic bottles and yelling “KOBE!” as we attempt to make the shot. It is impossible to write the history of basketball without including the massive impact Kobe Bryant had on the game, and that speaks for itself. 

Larger than his impact as a basketball player was his impact as a father. He loved being a father to his four daughters and nothing proved that passion more than his relationship with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna who was shaping up to be a basketball prodigy in her own right. 

“Mambacita,” as she was nicknamed, showed flashes of skill at her age that Kobe himself said he did not have that age. This potential is what makes the tragedy of losing them both so heartbreaking, she was going to carry the torch from her father. 

With that being said it is now our responsibility to carry the torch of both of their legacies and pay homage to the overall great lives that were lost that day. Rest in Peace to the Black Mamba, your legacy lives on forever. Here’s to KOBE!!!!