As we are all aware, a special person was lost this past weekend. Kobe Bryant, former basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers, passed away January 26 due to a catastrophic helicopter crash. Nine people, including Bryant and his daughter Gianna, died in the crash.
As we mourn and grieve from the sudden death of Kobe and his daughter, we would like to pay our respects and reflect on the great legacy Kobe has made on and off the court.
On the Court
Kobe Bryant was “the greatest Laker of all time” according to Magic Johnson, who is both recognized as the top Laker and one of the greatest players of all time.
If you have watched basketball before 2016, you understand the meaning of Bryant to the NBA and Lakers. He was an NBA All-Star 18 out of 20 years, a four time All-Star MVP and only averaged less than 10 points a game (ppg) in a season once while having a career average of 25 ppg. Bryant also made the All-NBA First Team 11 times, as well making the NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times, and of course, being a five time NBA champion.
Out of his 20 years in the NBA, he only played for one team while wearing two jerseys, 8 and 24. He is the youngest player to ever reach 30,000 points, and is fourth in most points scored ever after being passed by Lebron James in Bryant’s hometown January 25.
Kobe has had some of the best performances ever, including an historic 81 point game against the Toronto Raptors on the road. He had numerous spectacular performances and many records. He will go down as one of the best players to ever play the game.
Off the Court
Bryant not only dominated on the court but also made great strides in his community, business and entertainment.
With the collaboration of his wife, they established The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation (KBVF), made to improve the lives of young people and their families through providing financial resources and developing unique programs. The KBVF provides scholarships and operates Mamba FC, a youth soccer club. They also partnered with the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Step Up on Second and My Friend’s Place to assist and provide services for homeless kids in Los Angeles. Even more community work from Bryant includes After-School All Stars and the Make A Wish Foundation, where he has granted more than 250 wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses.
If that was not enough, he and his wife donated more than $1 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, as well as raising more than $81 million through a telecast in research for Stand Up to Cancer. With this in mind, this is only a few of the many impacts Bryant had made in his lifetime.
However, Bryant did more than just philanthropy. He also wrote his best selling book, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play, where he reflects back on his career. In addition, he also won an Academy Award for his short film Dear Basketball, written and narrated by him.
He even made big moves in the business industry, investing and co-founding Bryant-Stibel, a venture capital firm, as well as sports drink Body Armor. He also founded media company Granity Studios and obtained a $600 million net worth.
Even with such a resume, what is more important than any of these accomplishments was Kobe’s impact as a father. After a career with intense dedication and commitment, Kobe had finally gotten the chance to be a parent.
He was heavily involved with his kids, including his daughter Gianna. In fact, he was the head coach of the team his daughter played in, Mamba Sports Academy. He not only served as a coach, but also a mentor to Gianna. You can find videos of them training together with Gianna putting moves on her father.
The popular video of Kobe talking to Gianna courtside, breaking down the game, showed the special bond that Kobe and Gianna shared and is something everyone should strive for. In other words, he was proud to be a “girl dad.”
All in all, it is clear that Kobe was more than just some basketball player that everybody knows or heard of. He was a trailblazer. He represented exactly what it means to work hard and to be a master of your craft, no matter what it may be. That’s what the Mamba Mentality symbolizes.