On January 26th, 2020, the legend Kobe Bryant passed away, which without a doubt, caused devastation for so many. Not only his incredible, loving family and friends but of course for his teammates, his coaches, and quite simply anyone who had ever met him. Months may have passed but our thoughts are still with them all as the Clippers are set to honor Kobe Bryant in their first game back at Staples Center.
But what about those who only saw him through the eyes of the media, perhaps those who only followed the NBA on occasion, would Kobe leave his mark?
The answer is simple.
There have been many discussions and articles written on the top NBA players of all time and Kobe always features alongside the likes of Jordan, Chamberlain, Rodman, and Johnson. Some of these discussions revolve around the sneakers they were wearing as illustrated in this review by Betway, with the famous Nike Kobe 1 Protro worn by Kobe in the famous 82 points drop against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. Perhaps one of the most memorable sneakers worn by Kobe towards the end of his career was the Nike Kobe 9 High, released in 2014 after Kobe recovered for his Achilles injury.
No doubt, injuries are an unfortunate part of the game, but what is it that makes some players shine more than others and ultimately be considered one of the greatest of all time? Could it be a great comeback from the abyss of an injury or is it just statistics and numbers we should consider?
In our opinion, it isn’t any of that, and needless to say that Kobe probably wouldn’t earn the title based just on his career, despite how illuminating it was.
So why is he worthy?
Well, in the words of Black Mamba himself “The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.”
That is why he should be named King Of the Basketball Empire. Because the Lakers’ star did just that. He inspired and motivated others. And he always will.
For those wanting to pursue a career in sport, they need to look no further for the epitome of a role model. Kobe embraced failure and encouraged others not to be afraid of it. An excellent outlook for the sports stars of the future, especially those wanting to make it in the NBA. His determination to win was second to none and whilst he was an exceptionally talented and gifted player, this was also down to a lot of hard work and dedication. Despite his passion for victory, however, even in defeat, he was gracious. “Much respect my brother” was his last tweet to LeBron James, as he congratulated him on overtaking him to become the 3rd highest scorer in NBA history
He is often, and always will be, compared to Michael Jordan who along with Nike built an entire business empire with his brand ‘Air Jordan’ – and of course, they are both NBA stars in their own right. Kobe always said he just wanted to be Kobe and not the next Jordan. He wanted to just be himself. Another key message to the NBA players of the future. But it was Jordan who recognized the true qualities of the Lakers’ 24 “Kobe gave every last ounce of himself to whatever he was doing.” From one legend to another – handing him the crown. And who could argue with MJ?
However, some often questioned whether Kobe was a team player or just in it for the glory and money – which of course, would not make a good King of Basketball. But Kobe once said, “I’ll do whatever it takes to win games, whether it’s sitting on a bench, waving a towel, or handing a cup of water to a teammate, or hitting the game-winning shot.” To those youngsters who see football (soccer) players getting angry with their coaches for being subbed or the arrogance to go for glory, this mantra is what those hoping to rise through the ranks need to hear.
Of course, this goes hand in hand with his Mamba Mentality. “Attack what is in front of you with passion and purpose, without fear and doubt and without an ounce of quit.” No matter what it is, that is the approach. And that is what he did.
This summarises Kobe Bryant in every aspect of his life. Yes, on the court, he was incredible. A joy to watch. But one of the reasons he will continue to make his mark, is for all his endeavours outside of the game. Whether that be coaching his daughter’s team, making children’s wishes come true or for his abundance of charitable work, the Lakers’ hero was committed and dedicated to it all.
We need only look at the up and coming NBA players as well as their reaction to his untimely demise, to see the effect that this Legend continues to have on them all.
Will there ever be another Kobe? What are the odds of that?
“Black Mamba lived life to make everyone else’s life better” Bryant’s Agent.
All hail the King Of the Basketball Empire.