Remembering Kobe Bryant

The world lost an icon yesterday. Not just the NBA brotherhood or the sports community at large, but humanity suffered a suffocating loss with the passing of Kobe Bryant.

The words are surreal. Tasting “Kobe Bryant is dead” come off my tongue has this venomous bite, this regurgitative feeling. It’s insidious.

The man who personified competition, hustle, grit, and legacy, Kobe’s game and mentality were as awe-inspiring as they were didactic; his on-court triumphs structured his even more impactful off-court heroics. Kobe showed us what it meant to sacrifice in the name of passion, in the name of love — to accomplish something at the cost of everything.

“Winning” wasn’t just an option for Kobe — it was his standard. But even if his grueling workouts and arduous mental preparation didn’t perpetually result in hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy, Kobe gave a champion’s effort on each play, with each dribble, with each shot. People often shy away from challenge or adversity to sequester away to the more familiar territory of “comfort;” #24 taught us to relish a challenge, for staring adversity in the face equips us with the ripe chance for growth.

Kobe showed us that obstacles are just reason to create opportunity.

No matter if he was skying towards becoming the youngest NBA dunk champion, or effortlessly sinking two free-throws on a ruptured Achilles, Kobe Bryant’s tenacity was unwavering. He provided the blueprint for navigating life’s inevitable wave and trough cycle by emphasizing the importance of what we can control: our sweat equity.

To do everything in one’s power to reach their potential, well, that was the Kobe way. That’s who Kobe Bean was, and that’s how he’ll always be remembered: Never making excuses, always making the effort.

The “Mamba Mentality” might have taken form on the basketball court, but its spirit permeates everything and anything worth fighting for. Kobe Bryant was a fighter, an inspiration, a leader, a teacher, an architect. His insatiable appetite for greatness soared as high as his two retired jerseys that will hang forever atop the Staples Center rafters.

Despite this unconscionably premature departure, the lessons from Kobe will live on in perpetuity through everyone he touched and inspired; his legacy lights the path for those endeavoring towards their respective summits.

This is the fabric of legend.

Thank you for everything, Kobe. Thank you for the memories, the exhilarating moments, the teachings — from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

You will be dearly, dearly missed, Kobe. Thank you for everything.


Zach H