Rest in peace, Kobe Bryant. A sentence that no one ever wanted to write, or read, in this day and age. The basketball icon passed away, at the age of 41, in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.
The media coverage that’s currently flowing in about his legacy, on and off the court, is eternal. It’s hard to put what Kobe did for this game in a few paragraphs, but I can only write what feels true to me at this current time, and my own personal take.
Kobe Bryant played 20 years in the NBA and grew up right in front of our eyes. When he retired after the 2015-16 season, he had been an NBA player longer than he had ‘not’ been a player (17 years). And when individuals grow up in the public eye as Kobe did, we see everything. Throughout his decorated and honored career, we saw his ups and downs and the challenges he faced. Yet, he succeeded in every challenge that loomed his way. And with each step, Kobe surprised, challenged, and made the impossible possible, which endlessly grew the public’s respect and connection. The more Kobe gave, the more we connected with him.
Kobe gave everything to this game, as he explained perfectly in his critically acclaimed animated short film ‘Dear Basketball’ based on the letter he wrote announcing his retirement. When he began his career, he brought the hunger, the motivation, and the desire to be the best basketball player he could be, the Mamba Mentality. But Kobe changed through his time in the NBA and realized that the goal initially set out to do wasn’t accurate. He realized that a legendary career is judged by the way it moves and touches the people around him and how it carries forward into the next generation. Kobe never stopped trying to inspire, and the moments and memories that he gave us all, will live on forever. If you look at the world and the communication right now about Bryant, it’s safe to say his legacy is legendary.
Catch you Thursday.