Mamba forever

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Mamba forever

Today, two numbers, 8 and 24, are retired by the Laker’s organization in honor of Bryant. 

Today, two numbers, 8 and 24, are retired by the Laker’s organization in honor of Bryant. 

Graphic Illustration by Macy McClish

Today, two numbers, 8 and 24, are retired by the Laker’s organization in honor of Bryant. 

Graphic Illustration by Macy McClish

Graphic Illustration by Macy McClish

Today, two numbers, 8 and 24, are retired by the Laker’s organization in honor of Bryant. 

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In a helicopter crash Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 nine people were killed later identified as John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Kobe and Gianna Bryant, Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan. 

This group of people in total is a huge loss inside the sports world and out of it. John Altobelli was a baseball coach at Orange Coast College, Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach for a private school, Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) teammates Gianna Bryant, Payton Chester, and Alyssa Altobelli, and NBA legend Kobe Bryant. 

Kobe was a five-time NBA champion, two-time finals MVP and a two-time Olympic gold medalist among many other accomplishments throughout his NBA career. Coming out of high school, Kobe went straight into the league and went on to play 20 seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers averaging 25 points a game throughout his career. His success on the court brought him to superstar status across the globe, particularly following his championship seasons. Today, two numbers, 8 and 24, are retired by the Laker’s organization in honor of Bryant.

Kobe’s greatness from his stats could be explored for endless hours, but what really made Kobe an icon was his determination.”

— Luke Bruce, 12

Kobe’s greatness from his stats could be explored for endless hours, but what really made Kobe an icon was his determination. His fluid play captured audiences to idolize his style on the court, but even more fans grew to have an adoration of Bryant not by his simple performance on the biggest stage in basketball, but his performance off of it. Bryant was fueled by hardwork that made people drawn to him. When others had born talent, Kobe beat it with an unmatchable work ethic. He shot before the lights came on and after they were off. If there was any way to improve, like cutting a few millimeters from a shoe, he did it. It’s this 20 years of dedication to the game and his craft that made him a hero to many. Bryant left everything he could on the court, and that’s why he carried this dedication even after his career. He put his passion into storytelling, winning an Oscar for it. He put his passion in being a coach, going as far to create a gym for young athletes and an even bigger passion in being a parent.

This dedication is also why the death of Kobe is heartbreaking to fans around the world. Fans spent so many years watching his achievements on and off the court, that watching a Lakers’ game, or watching Kobe anywhere was like watching a friend. This adoration for an icon is why friends and fans have come together to throw paper balls, rundown the shot clock, or playing the game he mastered, to honor the “black mamba.” It is why for the first time since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a NBA game has been delayed or cancelled. And it is that adoration, even more with the loss of Gigi, which led to a sharp shock and grief for many around the world. To current generations, it feels likely like the loss of Elvis. A day many fans will never forget. Kobe touched each fan in a different way, and each admirer of him need not to explain why they grieve, especially for the loss of an icon.

“Have a good time. Life is too short to get bogged down and be 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

Added to the grief, the loss of Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli, and Payton Chester ended the day with even more excruciating pain for people. Each girl was simply attempting to compete in the game they loved and had such bright futures ahead. It is not hard to imagine what great things each one of them could do with their lives, but it is even harder to realize that there are no more possibilities. The parents also aboard the helicopter were taking their kids to participate in games they love, not in the sole hope that they turn into pro athletes, but simply wishing to spend time with their children. All of it is an immeasurable loss as each person had an impact on people close and far. For their families, it is a pain few of us really understand right now, and their loss will be felt just as horribly as everybody on board that helicopter, and each loss will prove the day will forever somberly be remembered.

As fans grieve, it is important to remember that mourning a death of someone who impacted one’s life is nothing to be ashamed of. Grief after death is one thing all of mankind will likely experience, and it is not something that need any explanation. Whatever we do in living on from that terrible day, it could be put no better than Kobe himself: “Have a good time. Life is too short to get bogged down and be 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.” Yes it it OK to mourn, but once we finish, Kobe would want us to persevere, and for him, we will.