On January 26th, a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter crashed just before 10 a.m. PT near Calabasas, California. The world stopped.
The helicopter was carrying Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, John Altobelli, a champion baseball coach at Orange Coast College, and his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa. Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Ara Zobayan were also on the helicopter as it went down. They were headed to Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, for a youth basketball event.
A post by TMZ was circulating on Twitter that Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash. A friend sent me the post and I immediately thought TMZ was hacked. There was no way this was real. As a bunch of friends and I argued whether or not this was fake I receive a text that says “turn your TV onto Fox News.” I turn the TV on and it reads “Kobe Bryant and others dead from helicopter crash.” It was real.
Tears started uncontrollably running down my face. There was just no way. I was still in disbelief. Every news station ran the same story, it was true. People everywhere started posting about Kobe Bryant. The news got out to other athletes and in under 10 minutes, the whole world knew. He was gone.
As you can already tell by the outreach and millions of people in grief over his death, Kobe Bryant was much more than just a basketball mogul and the second best player to ever play the game, but he was someone to look up to. Personally he was an idol and an inspiration of mine, not just for sports, but for everything I do in life. Kobe Bryant, from the beginning of his amazing, long career always put hard work over everything he did. No matter how old he was or how established Kobe was as a player, he was always that guy that was in the gym 6 hours before his games putting up shots all alone to prepare. He was that guy that never took a moment of his life for granted, and people envied that. He changed the way I think about anything I do, whether it be a major life decision or a simple decision as much as whether or not to go to the gym.
“So if I can be remembered as the person that was born with a lot of talent, but did everything he could to try to overachieve, and lived every day as if he was the 12th guy on the bench. I think that’s a very powerful message to have and something that hopefully the players that are now and that players that will come later will choose to embody as well.” (Kobe Bryant)
People nowadays are always saying time feels like it got faster, days are getting shorter, where did my time go? Kobe made sure he never let a second go by that he wasn’t using that time to become a better person, whether it was a better athlete, father, husband, or mentor.
“Have a good time. Enjoy life. Life is too short to get bogged down or get discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, smile, and just keep on rolling.” (Kobe Bryant)
Everyone always attributed having the “Mamba Mentality” to just basketball, but I do not think this was his message. Throughout Kobe’s career he always supported other professional athletes, artists, and people in all different professions. Having the “Mamba Mentality,” is much more than sports. It’s about never giving up, no matter what life throws at you. It’s about pushing through those tough times and coming out as a better person. It’s about that extra 30 seconds of whatever you are doing where your body is telling you to quit, but your mind tells you to keep going. It’s about the blood, sweat, and tears you put into your life’s work whatever it may be. Even after his 20 year career as a Los Angeles Laker, he dedicated a lot of his time to writing. He then went on to win the 2018 Academy Award for best animated short film for “Dear Basketball,” about his love for the game after he retired after his 2015-16 season.
“Hard work outweighs talent — every time,” he continued. “Mamba mentality is about 4 a.m. workouts, doing more than the next guy and then trusting in the work you’ve put in when it’s time to perform. Without studying, preparation and practice, you’re leaving the outcome to fate. I don’t do fate.” (Kobe Bryant)
Throughout Kobe’s life, he was always trying to help and mentor anyone in anyway he could. Helping people will always attribute to becoming a better person yourself. He always pushed everyone around him to be better and to never slack off. The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do. We only live one short life and everyone was placed on this Earth for a reason. Why waste it?
And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1
Love you always,
Rest in peace Kobe. You are gone, but you will most certainly never be forgotten. Mamba Mentality and your legacy will live on forever.