Written By Jason Voorhees
As I sit here writing this piece, this all seems so surreal.
You don't have to be a fan of heavy metal music to know who Metallica is. One would not have to be a fashion enthusiast to recognize the name, Versace. And the same goes for Kobe Bryant...even a person that despises basketball would know the name KOBE.
I am not a huge basketball fan, nor am I knowledgeable about the sport in general. The extent of my understanding of the game comes only as an occasional viewer of the local Philadelphia 76ers. However, if there ever were any basketball player that I truly respected and idolized, it would be Kobe Bryant.
The "Black Mamba," as he has become to be known, is a legend. Kobe was not just some local star. He was not only a national superstar. Kobe was an international icon. He was more than a man. Bryant was an elite superstar that became more than human. Life after basketball for this man was all about family and him becoming an ambassador for millions of people around the world.
When I first heard the tragic news of Kobe and his daughter Gigi's death yesterday, I was in total shock. My first reaction was that this couldn't be real and that it was just fake news. Unfortunately, as I continued to refresh Twitter, I realized that the report was, in fact, correct and that Kobe had died.
This is a tragedy of epic proportions. 9 Lives lost. Countless souls affected. Families were torn apart, and their worlds ripped upside down. First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers go out to ALL of the families, friends, fans, and followers that have been affected by this terrible accident. This is a somber day, and I know many will be mourning for a long time to come.
As we all try to make sense of this tragedy, one thing that has quickly become apparent is the number of lives that Kobe touched during his 41 years of life. The outpouring of tributes has spanned all walks of life. And this is the theme I am choosing to portray as I try to pay my special tribute to Mr. Bryant and his Mamba Mentality.
In my opinion, Kobe Bryant is a Top 5 player of all-time in basketball history. Kobe has achieved the following awards and accomplishments: 4th all-time in regular-season scoring. 18x all-star. 15x member of All-NBA team. 5x NBA Champion. 2x Scoring Champion. 2x NBA Finals MVP. 4x NBA All-Star Game MVP. He holds countless NBA and Los Angeles Lakers records, among other achievements. That, my friends, is Kobe Bryant, the basketball player.
But Kobe Bryant, the person, was so much more than a man. He was one of the most beloved people on and off the court. When I think of Kobe Bryant, "the person," the following adjectives come to mind...
Self Driven, Motivated, Passionate, Competitive, Fearless, Compassionate, Tenacious, Humble, Confident, Relentless.
Those are some severe attributes, and Kobe was elite through all of them. Kobe is a guy that transcended the game. Bryant was an exceptional human being that inspired countless others from all walks of life. Kobe Bryant was much bigger than an athlete. He was almost Super Human.
These are the characteristics I choose to remember as I pay tribute to Kobe.
One thing that these types of tragedies bring light to is just how fleeting life is.
And as we pay tribute and mourn all of the lost lives yesterday, we all need to face the fact that we are all mortal. Life is not promised. And as we come to this realization, we can all take a page out of Kobe's resume as a role model of how to live our lives.
Live life to its fullest and embrace every challenge like it's your last. Face every obstacle as a fierce competitor and take things head-on. Treat others with respect. Tell your family members that you love them. Be an ambassador for doing the right things.
Embrace the Mamba Mentality. Kobe Bryant was More than a Man. Kobe Bryant was legendary.
To pay tribute to Kobe Bryant, maybe we all could try to model ourselves like him, and in doing so, his death will not be in vain. I truly believe everything happens for a reason, and this tragedy can now have more meaning. Just embrace Kobe Bryant and what he stood for, and maybe we will all find peace. Kobe Bryant, your legacy will live forever, and we will always remember you and your family. Thanks for all of the memories and the lives you touched! Rest Easy, Kobe.
#RIP #MAMBA #KOBE #GIGI
About Jason Voorhees
Jason resides in Norristown, PA and writes about all things sports and heavy metal music.