Bigger than sports — exactly what the life and career of Kobe Bryant is and was. The legacy he created impacted people well beyond the court and transcended the game of basketball.
When I saw the first reports of the tragedy yesterday, I was in disbelief, hoping that it was some sick joke to garner media attention. But as the official reports rolled in, I began to feel the grief of the world losing not just a future hall of famer, but also a husband, a father, an Oscar winner, an activist, and a world renowned icon.
As a Kings fan, the Black Mamba was front and center for some of the worst moments in Kings history, and for that, he was loathed in Sacramento. But damn it, we had to respect the man, and loathing was a mere mask for that.
His talent, his will, his intensity, his dedication to be as good as Jordan: he left it all on the floor. He was easily the greatest scorer of that generation, and one of the greatest to ever compete.
His great commercial in 2016 before retiring, The Conductor, painted a great picture of what Kobe meant to the NBA. We despised the man for what he did against our teams, but we were all going to miss him suiting up against them during the season. Now, we’re all going to miss what he brought to the game, and thus all our lives.
Devastation is an understatement for how all basketball fans will feel regarding this loss. He meant so much to the game of basketball, and he was just beginning his second act of life as a retired NBA player, just recently having a newborn girl seven months ago.
It is truly heart breaking. The NBA community and beyond will feel this tragedy for a long time as he cemented himself into an icon, idol, and role model.
With so many players looking up to Kobe, there will be many imitations, but never another original Mamba.
His legacy is truly bigger than sports as he transcended his place as a household name on the court at The Staples Center, generating an impact felt throughout the world.
We will remember him through his wife and kids, whenever we see a Lakers jersey, when we see someone shooting a crumbled piece of paper into the garbage, and whenever we touch a basketball.
We lost an amazing human being yesterday, and although he’s made us all look bad when he shoots the ball, it’s hard not to feel like we didn’t lose a legend. Just like he wasn’t ready to give up basketball, we’re not ready to lose him.