Remembering a 21st Century Legend

Mourning the Loss of Kobe Bryant

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Remembering a 21st Century Legend

Kobe Bryant Wore both 8 and 24 During his Laker Career

Kobe Bryant Wore both 8 and 24 During his Laker Career

Kobe Bryant Wore both 8 and 24 During his Laker Career

Kobe Bryant Wore both 8 and 24 During his Laker Career

On Saturday, January 25th, Kobe Bryant was surpassed as the NBA’s third all-time leading scorer. Kobe ended his career in 2016 trailing just Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone in terms of total points, which stood until that night. Of course, it was none other than Kobe’s close friend Lebron James that overtook him at 33,643 points, doing it in 104 fewer games. Kobe was proud of his friend, clearly showing his great depth character and lack of need for the spotlight. Since retiring, Bryant had focused most of his attention on his four daughters and expanding the game of basketball for the women he was most passionate about.

Sadly, we lost him in the morning hours just the next day. On Sunday January 26th, the helicopter carrying Kobe, his second daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, and seven others to a basketball game went down near Calabasas, CA. Gigi was herself a budding basketball star at the age of thirteen. Among the other passengers were a renowned junior college baseball coach, John Altobelli, as well as his wife and daughter, Keri and Alyssa. There was also assistant coach Christina Mauser, pilot  Ara Zobayan, and mother/daughter combo Sarah and Payton Chester. Each will be missed dearly, but few ever as much as Kobe Bryant, nicknamed Black Mamba by himself.

Kobe was a star from the beginning of his career. He was named Naismith Prep Player of the Year in 1996 as well as drafted 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets the same year, only to be traded to the Lakers immediately, where he donned the number 8 jersey. That draft also featured Hall of Famers Allen Iverson (#1) and Ray Allen (#5) as well as future inductee Steve Nash (#15). In his rookie year, Bryant averaged 7.6 points in under fifteen minutes but still made it onto the All-Rookie Second Team while playing second fiddle to Shaquille O’Neale. From there, he went on to be named a Western Conference All-Star in 1998 as well as every year from 2000 to 2016, winning game MVP four times. In that span, he was the NBA scoring champion twice and made twelve appearances on the NBA’s All-Defensive teams as well as fifteen on the All-NBA teams. In 2008, he averaged nearly twenty-nine points per game while shooting 45.9% en route to an MVP award, wearing the new 24 jersey he had switched to in 2006. The following two years, he won the NBA Finals MVP to culminate the last two of his five championships.

But Kobe was more than just a really good basketball player who spent his whole career with one organization. He was a father to four and put a lot into the advancement of Gigi’s basketball career. Though he did face well-deserved scrutiny for an alleged sexual assault in 2003, Kobe was not known for being a consistent trouble maker like Antonio Brown or Dennis Rodman. His impact was felt by the masses, as evidenced by 8 and 24-second violations in most NBA games this week and the efforts by many teams to retire his numbers in the coming weeks. Of course, tributes have been coming in from everywhere.

 

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I’m Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have. WTF!! I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!! 😢😢😢😢💔. Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation💜💛 and it’s my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here! There’s so much more I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Life❤️🙏🏾 #Gigi4Life❤️🙏🏾

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