Remembering Kobe – Legends Never Die
A year later, the tears have not stopped. On January 26, the world was in shock after the news that Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash near Calabasas. This anniversary doesn’t take me back to a heartbreaking memory. It reminds me that we remain in it, trapped under the emotional boulder, unable to escape. I personally have never been able to talk or write about this. Not because I didn’t want to but because the words never came out, it was hard to put into words the thoughts that were going through my head. I found out what had happened the same way that many of you all did: on the internet, in bits and pieces, quickly and messy, and then all at once. I was in total shock, I typed quickly in google for sources I can trust, to verify if it was true. After reading and reading and reading the tears began to flow, I was devastated. I’m still in disbelief.
No matter when you met me in my life, I was all about Kobe. I had the pleasure of meeting Kobe Bryant twice and watching him play in person multiple times. His impact on me was direct, and I will never forget the memories he created for me. If I ever had the opportunity to tell him anything, I would simply say thank you. I could never fully explain why I feel the way that I do or why he means so much to me, but that’s the beautiful thing about it.
In his 20-year NBA career, he was an 18-time All-Star, a five-time champion, a two-time Finals MVP and a one-time league MVP. He was named to the NBA All-Defensive team 12 times, the all-NBA team 15 times and was a regular-season scoring champion. Bryant currently sits fourth on the NBA all-time leading scorers list. His accomplishments off the court post-career were just as impressive, as he expressed his creative side with his short film Dear Basketball, which won an Oscar in 2017. And that’s just to name a few. Everything he did in the uniform and for the sport of basketball will never be forgotten by those who saw him, loved him and even the ones who hated him. They hated him but they respected him. He was Kobe Bryant. He was The Black Mamba. He was my idol. He was my G.O.A.T.
His final game and final season were something basketball fans may never see again. The Lakers won a franchise-low 17 games in the 2015-16 season, but you would have never known it by how many people showed up to Staples Center on Apr. 13. In the final game of his career, Bryant scored 60 points in a comeback win over the Utah Jazz. It was something so magical that it would be nearly impossible to recreate. The atmosphere inside Staples Center had you believing it was Game 7 of the NBA Finals. In reality, it was a match-up between one of the worst teams in the league and a team that just missed out on the playoffs. But for the City of Los Angeles and Laker fans everywhere, this meant everything. Their icon would step on the hardwood one last time before calling it a career. That magical night will live forever in the history of the NBA.
Kobe was a mentality. He was an inspiration. He will forever be missed. Kobe’s determination to win superseded everything else. He wasn’t above talking his opponents. He was just different, and that’s why I love him.
I want to take a second to acknowledge the other amazing souls we lost that day. In addition to Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna, 13, the crash claimed the lives of Payton Chester, 13; Sarah Chester, 45; Alyssa Altobelli, 14; Keri Altobelli, 46; John Altobelli, 56; Christina Mauser, 38; and the helicopter’s pilot, Ara Zobayan, 50. They may not have impacted my life but I know that these people were loved.
There will never be another like him. Rest in peace, Kobe.