Remembering Kobe Bryant
By Dan Khavkin, Sports Editor
A black mamba is a venomous snake. Everyone knows that. Its true danger however, is the fact
that it’ll attack you without any provocation.
Kobe Bryant didn’t need you to be an enemy on the court to drop 50 points on your head. It didn’t stop him from hanging 55 points over his mentor, the GOAT Michael Jordan.
The same mentality he carried in basketball translated into stardom just a year into his retirement.
Did we all forget that Bryant won an Oscar for the best short story just over two years after hanging the shoes up? Just a year after he put up 60 points in what is most likely the greatest farewell game in human history.
Whether he carried scrubs or was the head of an all-star starting five, Kobe’s mentality was the same. He was Michael Jordan after Jordan. A cold-blooded killer on the court who’s regimented training and zero tolerance for lack of effort, earned himself the reputation as one of the baddest-men to play in a sport.
Known for getting up at 5 a.m. and practicing until 7 a.m. in high school, he would practice two hours before practicing with the Lakers as an 18-year-old. There was the account that he practised on his own from 4 a.m. until 11 a.m. and wouldn’t leave until he shot 800 jump shots with Team USA. He would watch game-film of himself at half-time. He was the first one in and last one out. The list goes on and on.
During his time in the spotlight, we also witnessed him grow as a person. Unlike many other public figures he publicly admitted to adultery and apologized for getting involved in a sexual assault case.
Yes, we remember the rocky relationship he had with the LGBTQ+ community when he was fined $100,00 USD for calling a referee a homophobic slur. But did we forget that two years later he called out a fan on Twitter to get rid of such foul language?
“Come on Kobe… you called a ref a f*****. Don’t preach, just win,” one fan tweeted at Bryant’s response.
“Exactly! That wasn’t cool and was ignorant on my part. I own it and learn from it and expect the same from others,” he said to the fan.
For the LGBTQ+ community it was a big step in the right direction for an iconic basketball player like Bryant to apologize, and show that people can change for the better.
In his life post-NBA he continued to embody the same energy and personality we came to love on the court. We saw a man open his arms to competition when, just a day before his death, he congratulated LeBron James for leapfrogging him in the NBA all- time scoring list.
We all remember the wink he gave to his wife and kids sitting front-row after his legendary 60-point farewell game in 2016. We witnessed the true family man Kobe was.
His praise and love for his daughters and his wife Vanessa triggered the real tears of his death. Proudly saying that he was a “girl dad,” Bryant opened his own basketball academy where he coached his late 13-year-old daughter Gianna. She would’ve been an NCAA star who would’ve carried her career the same way her father did.
So, dear Kobe,
Thank you for sharing the Mamba Mentality with the world.
Thank you for having a Hall of Fame career that lasted 20 years with the L.A. Lakers.
Thank you for reminding us people can change.
Thank you for showing what it takes to get to the next level. Not only in finding advantages in life, but showing us the necessary steps it takes to rise above the rest.
We should change the phrase “KOBE” to “It’s for Kobe” whenever we toss a rolled up paper into the trash bin in your honour.
There will never be another one like you.
Thank you Kobe Bean Bryant.
Ex-MRU star Yang remembers Kobe
Former Mount Royal Cougars men’s basketball star Glen Yang has been out of school for over a year now and currently plays professionally for KFC Culle in the Spanish Liga EBA.
“Anytime I needed extra motivation I would watch a Kobe interview or a Kobe highlight.
“Everytime I didn’t want to work out or felt lazy, I would think of what Kobe would do and sometimes that’s all I needed to get up and go after it.
“His mentality and the way he approached life and the game is something I aspired to have and will continue to work towards having.
“If people asked me who I could sit down and have dinner with, I would pick Kobe Bryant. I wanted to pick his brain and learn from him that much.”