The world admired Kobe Bryant for his inconceivable work ethic that produced a long, impressive record of career accolades and accomplishments within the NBA and beyond. Not only did he earn two Olympic gold medals, but he also won five NBA championships, and was ranked fourth on the NBA all-time scoring list. He entered the NBA when he was 18 years old and retired at the ripe age of 38.
Though the world knew of Kobe for his mastery of the game of basketball, stories released after the report of his death revealed a much more intimate perspective into the character of Bryant. He was a dedicated husband, father, and friend who always went the extra mile to show people the love he held in his heart for them.
Post-retirement, Kobe dedicated his time to instilling his legacy in his daughter, Gianna Bryant, who also passed in the fatal helicopter crash. They bonded over their mutual love for the game of basketball where he would train her to one day surpass him and his achievements. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel in 2018, Kobe Bryant shared an anecdote after mentioning that Gianna wanted to play in the WNBA.
“The best thing that happens is when we go out, and fans will come up to me, and she’ll be standing next to me, and they will be like, ‘You gotta have a boy, you and V [wife Vanessa] gotta have a boy, man, to have somebody carry on the tradition, the legacy.’ And [Gigi] is like, ‘I got this!'” Bryant said. “That’s right. Yes, you do. You got this.”
With her father by her side, Gianna was evolving into an unstoppable force — a true paragon of honor and a quality she inherited from her father who was unforgettable energy himself. In the spirit of their relationship, #GirlDad was trending on Twitter where fathers from all over posted pictures of themselves with their daughters, embracing the love that they share together.
Their passing has left a hole in the hearts of millions across the world. However, in our mourning, we must choose to remember their character. As a philanthropist, Kobe contributed to countless charitable works including, but not limited to, the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, After-School All-Stars, Make A Wish Foundation, Stand Up to Cancer and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
As a leader, Kobe emphasized, “The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do.” Therefore, for those who wish to honor his life, you must cherish his words and actions as he continuously led by example.
Never let go of your Mamba Mentality — to constantly try to be the best version of yourself. Just remember, “Everything negative—pressure, challenges—is all an opportunity for me to rise.”
Black Mamba’s legacy lives on in perpetuity. Rest in power.
Rest in peace also to the other victims of the helicopter crash: John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Ara Zobayan and Christina Mauser.