Kobe Bryant: The legend who inspired a nation


Photo courtesy of YouTube

Kobe Bryant was one of the few athletes who could claim to be as successful off the court as he was on it.

Ryan Lynch, Reporter

He seemed to be larger than life, and this was not accidental. From the day he stepped onto a court at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pensylvania, Kobe Bryant was pegged for greatness. From there, he went on to the NBA, where he cultivated the persona of “The Black Mamba”: a man unbothered by the follies of anxiety or fear because gods dont waste their time on such petty issues. Whether it be his legendary work ethic, his supreme confidence or his unmatched ability, Kobe Bryant always seemed as if he had elevated himself to a higher plane.

That is what made the morning of Jan. 26 such a shock. Bryant, his daughter Gianna and 7 others were in a helicopter flying to one of Gianna’s travel basketball games when the helicopter crashed into some hills in Calabasas, California. The crash left no survivors.

When news of the crash broke, many people flatly refused to believe it happened, but as time wore on and the story was eventually confirmed: Kobe was gone.

“I felt like something was gone from childhood and the sports world,” senior Max Lupo said.

To try and comprehend Kobe’s effect on our generation is very difficult because Kobe was so much more than just a basketball player. All it took was one steely glare and you knew: the Mamba was taking what was his today. Kobe could do this because, in adition to his superior talet, he had a supreme intellect

Kobe had a business-type mindset; he was always hungry and wanting to stay on top, and he engaged in many economic ventures over the course of his life: purchasing stakes in Coca-Cola and Bodyarmor SuperDrink and starting his own venture-capital company. Kobe wasn’t just a jock who could nail a couple free throws; he could buy the court you played on and beat you on it.

This isn’t to say Kobe was some emotionless monster. Actually, it was quite the opposite. On the court, Kobe was a stone-cold assassin. Off the court, he was known to be a kind and loving person, especially as a parent. This, in Kobe’s eyes, was his greatest achievement. Kobe saw his being a parent as his real pride and joy in life, raising daughters Natalia, Gianna, Bianka and Capri, who was born just last year in June. 

I mention all of this because it’s why the public adored and respected Kobe. He was an investor,  and a planner in a world where the popular thing to do with money is spend it. He married his high school sweetheart and had four beautiful daughters whom he loved with all of his heart. Kobe wanted to be great, but he wanted to be his own flavor of great. 

“I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant,” Kobe once said.

And that is what fans remember him as. 

Right before the Grammy’s began, mere hours after Kobe’s death, news was released that officials from the Grammys were asking people not to gather outside the Staples Center, home of Kobe’s long time team the Lakers. Upon hearing this, Mickstape, a podcast based out of New York tweeted out “That’s Kobe’s building. The Grammys are gonna have to wait.”

In the days since his passing, there have been an immeasurable amount of tributes to Kobe from around the world from Dubai lighting their Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, with Kobe’s image to York students themselves paying their respects. 

“I knew Kobe was looking down at everyone and saying ‘quit crying and back in the gym’, so I put some work in, in honor of Kobe,” said Lupo, who did 24 pushups, Bryant’s number in the NBA, to commemorate Kobe.

That’s what Kobe left behind for all of us. Taking away all of his athletic achievements, Kobe still showed the fruits that not just working hard, but working hard consistently could bear. He taught us that you don’t have to be the toughest guy in the room at all times, you just have to be willing to put in the most work.