Last Week of January, Mamba Out.

Kobe Bryant, One of the greatest athletes that played in the last generation of athletes and played for 20 years in the Los Angeles Lakers. Unfortunately, on January 27, 2020. Kobe and Gianna Bryant died in a helicopter crash with 7 others. 

Waking up and hearing that Kobe was gone, as a fan of basketball and the NBA, I was devastated in ways that affected most of my week. These are not the usual changes of emotion. It was more on how Kobe Bryant changed me as a person and a player of the game. Now knowing that Kobe Bryant is gone, I knew now that he was gone, I would not see him grow as an old person, getting a hall of fame award, and to see him as a great father towards his family and to the game of basketball.  

On the day that the news broke out. It shook most of the world’s greatest athletes, Kobe’s closest friends, and people who look at him. Being a fan, I first thought that the news of the crash was fake. Knowing that people make celebrity hoaxes for attention or to make hate. I was surprised when it was reported by a legitimate news agency. The headline of most news centers of the crash were “Kobe Bryant dead, with his Daughter Gianna Bryant and 7 others.” Although, first reports of the accidents said that another athlete was in the helicopter crash. The athlete was Rick Fox, a teammate of Kobe and a former Lakers player. However, this report was false and Rick Fox was not a part of the accident.

It would break my heart even more if another NBA player were to die due to this kind of accident. Seeing that there are only a few NBA legends that would go old and have a long and fulfilled life. But I was glad that Kobe lived that life even if it was cut short. He was able to raise a family, a new generation of players, and helped a lot of people who were dealing with problems. This death would not stop me from playing, but this will motivate me to do more and to do better as if he was alive right now. He would want all of his fans to do more, and to do their best in life. Whether be it in sports, studies, or in life generally. He want us to be successful. That in mind would keep me motivated to balance my studies while working out or going to the gym.

On the same day, I was watching a few of the games in the NBA that were being broadcasted. Every team that was playing games took game violations, specifically a 24 seconds shot clock violation and an 8 second backcourt violation. These violations would be their way to pay respects to Kobe Bryant, who wore the number 8 and 24 during his career. As Kobe is one of the reasons why they play today. A statement made by Demar Derozan, a player from the San Antonio Spurs, said that “Learning everything that I’ve learned, basketball-wise from Kobe, what he meant to the game, the inspiration that he brought to the world … I can’t imagine something like that happening,”. Another statement made by Gregg Popovich, coach of the San Antonio Spurs, said that “All of us know what a great player he was but he went beyond great playing. He was a competitor. It goes unmatched,” and he also said “We all feel a deep sense of loss for what he meant to all of us in so many ways and so many millions of people that loved him for so many different reasons.”. 

These players, coaches, and staff of every basketball team are inspired by Kobe. People everywhere who grew up watching the game of basketball were emotionally wrecked. Fans that lived in the area of the Staples Center, the home arena of the Los Angeles Lakers, when paid their tribute by making shrines and memorials in the name of Kobe Bryant. I paid my respects by taking a picture on the 8th floor of our building, with a mural of the number 8 that is made by students. People looked at me with a confused face, as they only see that the mural that was placed there before was removed. Yet, I kept my Mamba Mentality and took a picture.

An event took place at the Staples Center, namely the Grammy’s that were presented by the Recording Company, also paid their respects during the last performance of the event. They showed pictures of Kobe Bryant, and Nipsey Hussle. Both of whom died within the recent year. Watching more celebrities paying their tributes to Kobe. I had goosebumps that also made me cry when watching the videos live and via replay. I was certainly moved when Nas said during his performance “Kobe, We love you”, and DJ Khaled with “Rest In Peace, Kobe Bryant, Gianna. Long live Kobe”. Those statements moved me as they idolize Kobe and took him as an inspiration for some of their songs. While, John Legend said “We’ve seen so much tragedy today, last year and so much has gone on, lets love our families, lets hold each other tight.”. Celebrities who were friends of Kobe, were treated as if they were family. These statements reminded me when Kobe also visited the Philippines in 2016, he was able to captivate the hearts of the Filipino while at the same time Filipinos were able to please Kobe Bryant by showing love and through cheers. 

After a day has passed, the NBA sought to cancel and move the game of the Los Angeles Clippers versus the Los Angeles Lakers to a later day. The Lakers organization told the NBA that the recent loss of Kobe Bryant affected their team ,most notably their players and staff. Fans of Kobe Bryant, and the Lakers organization made a shrine outside the Staples Center to commemorate Kobe’s death. Moreover, people were chanting “Kobe, Kobe, Kobe” while most were grieving over the death of Kobe. 

On this day as well, a sports channel commemorated Kobe’s death by putting Kobe’s former teammates to share their stories about the time they were together, and their memorable stories. Watching the show, I noticed how Shaquille O’Neal said that “We live in a world where anything can be photo shopped, anything can be hoaxed, I didn’t want to believe it”. It devastated him as much as it devastated me and the whole basketball community. With how Shaq is a close friend, teammate to Kobe. And us being supporters of Kobe Bryant. We shared the same pain. 

January 29, the day Kobe Bryant’s body was found. I stumbled upon the news when I was just reading articles made by CNN and BBC. They confirmed his body to be intact with the other passengers that were with him during his last few seconds. I was relieved that his body was found, yet still hurt that he was gone from this world. The world loses the Black Mamba, but to fans and fellow players. His lost will not be forgotten and the Black Mamba will be with us throughout our days. As his last few words during his last game, Mamba out.

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