I’m shaking my head with each word I type, still hoping and praying that for some reason the reports aren’t true. Hitting the “submit” button on something that is just so hard to wrap your head around, yet also a moment of gut-checking sadness is not something that I expected to do today. A moment in life where you’ll remember exactly where you were when you heard the news for the rest of your existence.
It is with a heavy heart that I have to say we’ve reached that moment.
Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest NBA players of all time, who had a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, was killed Sunday, January 26th, when a helicopter he was flying in crashed in Calabasas County, CA. Gianna, his 13-year-old daughter, was also on board and died along with seven other passengers. Bryant, an elite athlete, is considered one of the all-time greats and will undoubtably go down as one of the most talented humans to ever dribble a basketball. Most mentioned in one name format, ‘Kobe’ played his entire 20-year career as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. He entered the NBA directly from high school and won five NBA championships along with two Olympic Gold Medals.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had this to say today about the passing of Bryant:
“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” … “He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary. … He will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.”
In an other-worldly set of circumstances, Lakers star LeBron James passed Kobe on the NBA all-time scoring list on Saturday night, hitting the 33,643-point mark that placed the Mamba at third all-time. Kobe’s last form of social communication congratulated James in what most will consider a ‘passing of the torch’ type moment.
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
For many of the players that are currently in the league (or people that are currently reading this), view Kobe as their MJ. He is the guy they grew up watching, the star who they wanted to be like, the player they chose to be when recreating moments in their backyards or at the park. Bryant was a once in a generation athlete, with a once in a century work ethic. If there is one thing he will be remembered for besides his basketball accomplishments, it will be his fearlessness and admiration for never settling.
In what will be a story that seems way too good to be true, the Los Angeles Lakers will play the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, January 28th at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Tuesday will be a moment of must-see entertainment and will inevitably be one of the most iconic moments in NBA history.
Rest in peace, Mamba.