The world was shaken last week when news broke that NBA legend Kobe Bryant, along with his daughter, Gigi, and seven others, were killed in a helicopter crash.
Bryant is arguably one of the best to ever do it. He achieved great things in his career, and was always focused on the next challenge. He never talked about what he did in the past, but instead what he could improve in his game for the betterment of the team. All he wanted was to win and work his hardest to be the best. He never cheated the game. He always put 100% effort into all of his practices, film watching and games.
Bryant’s death was shocking and seemed untrue to everyone who heard the news. Television broadcasts showed players’ reactions to his passing, and it was hard to imagine how they would get into the right mindset for their respective games. Some players, including Demar Derozan, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving sat out of their games while mourning Bryant’s death.
Bryant wore no. 8 and no. 24 during his career, and multiple games started with one team taking a 24-second shot clock violation and the other taking an 8-second backcourt violation to honor him.
Bryant left the world too soon and still had so much to offer off the court. He was a great influence on the younger generation of the NBA, and his journey taught many how to develop their game. Young players today were too young to see Michael Jordan play in his prime, so Bryant was the one they looked up to.
“Everything I’ve learned came from Kobe. Everything,” said Derozan. “Take Kobe away, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have the love, I wouldn’t have the passion, the drive. Everything came from him.”
What many people did not know about Bryant was that he was a monumental role model off the court as well. Gigi was just beginning to develop her basketball game to the next level, and there are countless videos of Bryant teaching his daughter the game through his perspective. You could tell she wanted to live up to his name.
A couple of weeks before their passing, videos of Kobe and Gigi sitting courtside at a Brooklyn Nets game went viral. In the video, Bryant is providing instructions on what to do on certain plays, and you could see how focused she was on the game and how well she understood it. The Nets honored Kobe and Gigi in their next home game by leaving both seats open.
Bryant was beginning a new chapter of life raising his daughters and being there when they needed him. He was looking forward to Gigi attending UConn and wanted her to be something special for the game of basketball. He was proud of the person and player she was becoming and wanted to be there for her games and practices.
Although Bryant achieved a lot on the court, including five NBA championships, two NBA Finals MVPs, and a regular-season MVP, he left his greatest impact on others
“There was one person I wanted that respect from, one person I wanted to look at me as an equal and look at me eye to eye,” said former NBA star Dwyane Wade. “And that was Kobe Bryant”
Bryant was someone everyone inspired to be like. He never gave up and showed the world you had to work to be great. Bryant should be remembered for how he developed the game, gave players a bar to work to, never settled and strived to be the greatest player the NBA’s ever seen.