Remembering The Mamba
I apologize for this serious blog. But when greatness dies, everyone feels it.
Nine people tragically passed Sunday morning when a helicopter crashed in the hills of Calabasas, California. Among those nine were Kobe Bryant and his Daughter Gianna Bryant. A tragedy of this magnitude is hard to digest. As the world is still coming to terms with this devastating news, it's hard to find the words to pay tribute to a global icon and all the innocent lives lost. However, I wanted to pay homage to a hero of mine like thousands of others have.
I haven't felt this kind of heartbreak for someone I never met before. But that's the impact the Mamba had on everyone's life. The most influential sports figure of my time, KB inspired everyone around him to be the best version of themselves. With his passing, stories are circulating about his work ethic and his drive. A man who was committed to his craft and dedicated to excellence. These stories portray Kobe as a man who was not only unbreakable -- but a man who was invincible, making this accident that much harder to fathom.
Kobe Bryant was suppose to outlive all of us, not die at 41.
The stories surfacing now surrounding Kobe's tireless work ethic and unmatched ambition make it no surprise he was five time NBA Champion and one of the most decorated athletes of all time. But it was his work off the court and in retirement that far exceeds his NBA accolades. The Black Mamba may have been NBA player of the year once in 2008 but he was Father of the Year for 14+ years.
“My routine was always the same: weights early in the morning, kids to school, fly down to practice like crazy, do my extra work, meet with the media, do everything I needed to do, get back in the carpool line to pick the kids up [from school.] My wife was like, ‘Listen, I can pick them up.’ I was like, 'No, no, no. I want to do that because … every chance I get to be with them, even if it’s just 20 minutes in a car, I want that.”
That quote from Washington Post explains his day-to-day routine and the need for a helicopter in his life. A real life superhero flying around town and getting it done.
Gianna Bryant was a 13 year old rising basketball star. When her father officially retired from basketball in 2016, he stepped away from basketball as a whole, rarely watching NBA games. But when Gigi started to develop a passion for basketball, Kobe went Mamba mode on Gianna, taking her to NBA games and dissecting every play from tip off till last possession.
Although 99% of the world wouldn't understand a complex breakdown from one of the greatest basketball minds ever, it's clear to see the beautiful father-daughter bond these two shared.
In the last few years, It was common to see Kobe and his little best friend attend basketball games together. His second act in life was becoming more impactful than ever before. KB was becoming a major advocate for Women's basketball, while coaching his daughter's team the Lady Mambas.
Heart wrenching to see these moments cut short. Kobe leaves behind three daughters and his wife Vanessa.
Personally, I wouldn't know how to recover from this. But I am not a Bryant and I don't have Mamba blood in me. The Bryants only know one way to deal with pain and adversity.
This mentality has allowed Kobe to dominate every facet of life. From NBA and Academy awards to the ultimate family man. He was built different. There are no words that can reconcile the families affected. But the world and everyone Kobe influenced is stronger because of him. Mambas don't mourn forever.
Sending thoughts and prayers to all families, friends and fans involved.