An Ode to Kobe Bryant


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Kobe Bryant passed away last Sunday after a tragic helicopter accident.

I’m not much of a crier. But I cried for you, Mr. Bryant. I was overwhelmed, stunned, and in utter disbelief when I saw that tweet from TMZ.

Mr. Bryant, I felt like a part of my childhood died. I was transported to that magical 2008 NBA Finals when my Boston Celtics “The Big Three” won the ship. You see, Mr.Bryant, in that moment of euphoria, I witnessed greatness. I saw a man who was determined to not be beaten. A man who laid it all out and left every ounce of what he had on the court that night. Mr. Bryant, I could list the stats: the 5 rings, the 15 All-Star Game appearances, the 4 Finals MVPs.

But, Mr. Bryant, what will last? The legacy you left was one of the ultimate competitor, Mr. Bryant. Your commitment to excellence and quest to get the most out of yourself is inspirational. Mr. Bryant growing up I was kind of a screw-up. I was the kid who had all the potential but would squander it on childish things. But that all changed going into my freshman year.

Mr. Bryant, I adopted the ‘Mamba Mentality,” the one that you defined as “the ultimate mantra for the competitive spirit.” Mr. Bryant, I made that one of my core values. Outworking and outdoing everyone became my quest. I’m seeking to get the most I can out of myself. I’m trying to take myself to new levels and see just how far I can take this what level of achievement I can reach. To see just how far can I go.

But you also provided a real example of the redemption process. After the allegations of sexual misconduct, it could’ve been the end of what was a brilliant career. But it didn’t. You became a champion and advocate for Women’s Basketball and became an example of the “girl dad” that has influenced so many after your death.

Mr. Bryant, it’s not just the impact you had on the sport but the way that Mamba Mentality carried over to every aspect of your life. Mr. Bryant, you applied that mamba lifestyle to being the best father you could be, the best husband you can be. But, Mr. Bryant, you became champions and prominent figure in your active support of Women’s Basketball. You extended a voice to the game through your daughter Gianna you were adamant in showcasing the skills and talents of Women’s basketball. Mr. Bryant, the “Mamba Mentality” has become so much more than Basketball. I saw it when you won an Oscar (yes, an Oscar) when you turned your 6 Million dollar investment in the Body Armor Sports drink into a 200 Million Dollar Stake. Mr. Bryant, thank you. The impact that you made on the world was great. Mr. Bryant thank you for showing the world and me what true excellence is and what it means to get everything you can out of yourself.


Bennie Anderson