On January 26th, the world received terrible news of the passing of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant. On his way to his daughter’s basketball game, Bryant and 8 others including his 13 year-old daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. This wasn’t just a tragedy to the sports world but the entire world; whether you watch sports or not, you knew who he was.
Bryant was a cultural icon around the world, regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he entertained fans for years on and off the basketball court. Kids from the 80’s and 90’s wanted to “Be Like Mike” but there’s a whole generation of kids who grew up wanting to be Kobe.
Bryant is one of the most accomplished athletes in the history of sports, winning 5 NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, along with taking home the Finals MVP twice. He also represented America on the big stage, winning 2 Olympic gold medals for the US national basketball team. Kobe won the NBA MVP only once but managed to rack up 18 All-Star appearances throughout his illustrious 20-year career.
For me, Kobe is my childhood hero. He’s the reason I got into basketball, which led into my obsession for sports altogether. The first basketball player I remember knowing was Kobe, my first pair of basketball shoes were Kobe’s, and the first sports championship I watched was the Lakers and Celtics NBA Finals in 2010. Anybody that’s known me knows what Kobe meant to me. It is really like losing a loved one.
Multiple people have texted me or have said “sorry for your loss”, including my own relatives, as if he were part of our own family. That is the type of impact he’s had not just on me, but millions of people.
The words “Kobe Bryant has passed away” will never feel real to me. Kobe inspired so many people in different ways, as he was the embodiment of never giving up and to always try your best at whatever you do.