So Long Black Mamba

It was with a heavy heart that I’m typing this. I’m grieving for someone, not family, not a friend, one who doesn’t even know I exist…but made an impact in my life, without him knowing it.

Kobe Bean Bryant was born the same year I was. I first learned about him in 1996 when he got drafted in the NBA straight from high school. If I remember correctly he’s the first player to ever do that so the hoopla was really huge. He played for the Lakers after being traded by the Hornets. From the first time he set foot on court until the last in 2016, he was on fire! Hitting ball after ball, especially in the crucial minutes of the game.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. What drew me to him the first few years was really the image – a kid playing in a game with/ against big and grown men, and doing it splendidly. It didn’t hurt that he looks good and carries himself well on or off court, so that’s reason #2.

I remember my friends would tell and tease me that he hogs the ball that’s why he gets to shoot. He makes himself the center of it all so he could be a superstar. And I would get mad because well I’m a fan, and maybe without really thinking much about it, I kind of agree. But then to his defense I would say, well there’s no one else there to do it, so rather than lose, he took it upon himself to make a shot. Which is true. Looking back to his early days and looking at it with grown up eyes, I like Kobe because he’s very disciplined in his craft. He gives extra and makes sure that he gets better than others, or better than himself. Something that I can relate to. Well, not in sports for me but in my academic life.

There are links circulating now that he practices more than the others. He starts early and ends up staying behind. He tries more, thus more opportunities were created for him. He never gives up. When he sets his mind to it, he follows through. True grit. The Mamba mentality. And that what sets him apart from others. That’s what make losing him in our midst so painful, heartbreaking.

Knowing also that we lost him in a freak accident with his daughter makes it more unbearable as, more than a fan, a parent. I couldn’t bear to imagine how he might have felt while that helicopter was spinning, knowing that it will crash, and will take not only his life, but his daughter’s as well.

People will continue to say things about him, both bad and good. More of those would probably judge him as a basketball player/ icon. But he summed it up in his own words, when he said that his greatest achievement was his family, his daughters. For there’s really nothing that would come close to that.

I pray for his wife – may she find the strength to carry on and move forward, taking care of 3 more lovely daughters. I also pray for their daughters, especially the youngest – may she grow up beautifully knowing about her legendary father. May they all find it in their hearts to accept this loss and rise from it strong and at peace.


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