Remembering Kobe Bryant

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The loss of Kobe Bryant caught everyone off guard. For my generation, we will always talk about where we were when we heard that Kobe died. That shows just how much he meant to us and our basketball dreams. Everyone wanted to be like Kobe. He was our Michael Jordan. Whether you were a Kobe fan or not, you better believe that any basketball fan would turn on his games if he was on national TV. Most nights he was on TV, he did not disappoint. He inspired our generation to have the “Mamba Mentality” and work hard and be tough. You cannot tell the story of the NBA without Kobe Bryant, and he will be missed.

My favorite Kobe memory was watching him beat the Boston Celtics in the 2010 Finals. The Celtics were stacked with their Big 3, but the Lakers had built a team as well. Kobe led them to his last title. Another favorite memory of mine was his last game--it was fitting for Bryant to score 60 points by the end of the night. He came into the league as a scoring monster and that’s how he left the league.

--Bryce Shadday

 

The death of Kobe Bryant sent shockwaves not only through the NBA but through the hearts and minds of everyone. Kobe inspired a whole generation of kids to play basketball. When you shoot a paper ball into a trash can, what do you say? "Kobe". He was our Michael Jordan. Growing up watching Kobe become this amazing player and an unforgettable legend was unreal.

My favorite Kobe moment was his Alley Oop to Shaq in the 2000 Western Conference Finals. The Lakers started the fourth quarter down by 16 to the Portland Trail Blazers. Kobe flips a switch and the Lakers start coming back. With 49 seconds left in the game, Kobe drives to the left side, throws a perfect lob, and Shaq hammers down a dunk so powerful that I bet it shook the whole city of L.A. That play cemented the victory for the Lakers and moved them onto the NBA Finals.

--DJ Deak

Kobe Bryant’s death will forever live in American History. The moment the news broke, it seemed as if the whole earth stopped. Kobe’s impact wasn’t just felt in the United States but all over the world. He was a basketball icon for the entire globe. Unfortunately, I didn’t start picking up on NBA action until the later stages of Kobe’s career. However, I do remember the first team I ever used in NBA 2K was the 2010 Lakers championship team, led by Kobe.

The most memorable Kobe moment for me would be his final night of NBA action. I was fortunate to watch the game live and see him go for 60, eventually hitting the go-ahead bucket to give the Lakers a win. It was similar to when Derek Jeter hit the walk-off in his final home game for the Yankees. It was a surreal moment and one of the most epic performances of the decade, regardless of how many shots it took.

--Devin Voss

 

When I heard the news about Kobe Bryant, I was absolutely shocked. My initial thought was that it could not be real and that TMZ just made this up. Kobe was an excellent basketball player, and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to grow up and experience his greatness throughout most of my life. He was that one guy that could absolutely score at will. He had that “work harder” mentality that made him so much better than everyone else. I also remember Kobe Bryant as a father to his daughters. He was an advocate for women’s basketball, and I think that speaks for how great of a dad he was to his children. The fact that his daughter passed with him is absolutely heartbreaking. Kobe was a good role model to me and was someone I always looked up to. He was loyal to his team, he was one of the best to ever do it, and he showed us all how to be a supportive dad.

My favorite Kobe moment happened when Matt Barnes tried to make him flinch on the inbound, but Bryant just stared back at him. That was when I realized that Kobe Bryant was a bad man. Matt Barnes was known to get in people’s heads, but Kobe proved that he was mentally superior to everyone else on the court with him. RIP Mamba. 

--Derek Cox

 

I am writing this a few weeks after the tragedy, yet it strikes me how sad I still am at the loss of Kobe Bean Bryant. Kobe was a true superstar, a top ten player of all time, and an all-time competitor. As a leader, Kobe never cared about you liking him- he only cared about winning. This rubbed some people the wrong way- like Smush Parker- but Kobe only cared about winning. If you were not a winner, then you had no place taking the floor as his teammate. He did whatever it took to win, and was either the best or second best player on five championship teams as a result.

My favorite Kobe moment was in the 2000 Western Conference Finals, when he threw an alley-oop to Shaquille O’Neal that capped off a 15-point comeback against the Portland Trail Blazers. The moment is pure joy, from the moment Kobe passed it to the moment in which Shaq caught it, dunked it, and pointed down the court in pure jubilation after the incredible nature of that particular play. It also was the focal point of the Lakers dynasty in which they won three championships in a row, and Kobe’s first legendary moment in the league.

--Alex Burr

 

The respect the game of basketball has for Kobe Bryant goes beyond the five championships, two finals MVPs, regular season MVP and the 81-point game. Kobe Bryant’s accomplishments are just a result of what made him the game’s greatest competitor. The competitive nature of Kobe is one that can’t be compared to another. From the beginning to the end of his career, Kobe wanted to be the greatest. Challenging Michael Jordan every chance he got, challenging his own teammates to be better, challenging every opponent to stop his greatness in the regular season, postseason, and even All-Star games set him apart.

Kobe made his last game in the league better than any other. Kobe made his way out of the league and won an Academy Award not long after retiring. The entire time, Bryant’s competitiveness was shown. Before and after every game, the loving and caring husband and father was displayed as well. Kobe was a mentor to many players in the league and we have that to look at when players try to emulate the Mamba Mentality.

The player Kobe influenced the most was a young player he knew since birth--his daughter Gianna. Gianna was the reason Kobe got back into the game of basketball after retiring, and she not only had the Mamba Mentality, but other possessed the gene as well. Gianna and Kobe will be missed, and their presence will forever be a blessing to all that had the chance to encounter or watch them.

--JD Hall


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