In Memoriam: Kobe Bryant

In+Memoriam%3A+Kobe+Bryant

Miguel Calle J., Editor-in-Chief

Dear Kobe, 

As rookies enter and exit Staples Center, they will hear the echoes of your greatness. 

Your attitude came to define excellency. We hear the expression “Mamba mentality,” and we are reminded time and time again of what it means to be a sportsman, a winner, and a legend. You were always the first to arrive at the gym, and the last to leave; therefore, there is no better tribute to the man you were than to appreciate the kind of basketball player you became. Transcending the lines of the court and the screens of every television, you managed to make fans out of the most bitter rivals. Celtics and Clippers fans mourn your death like every Laker does. After all, you were more than an athlete; you were an icon and an inspiration for generations to come. You may have beat my Magic and taken away our only title, but all I could think about was how much I wanted to be like you: an indefatigable champion.

Now, as you part through an unspeakable tragedy, we can only vocalize the sentiments that had remained dormant in our brains since you left the game on April 14th, 2016. That night, resembling so many other nights in which you made history, you managed to score 60 points as a 37-year-old. Had you wanted to, you probably could have donned the purple and gold jersey tonight and no one would have noticed that you left. I still remember how I updated the box score constantly, knowing that you would have scored from another fadeaway jumper or buried one more three. Most of your colleagues from the 1996 draft had retired by then, but you were still in your prime. The decision to retire must have been a purely personal one, because you remained a sharpshooter and an extraordinary competitor. Yet, when beholding your legacy in admiration, that’s not what most people mention. Your inimitable work ethic and your incredible sense of human decency; those are the traits that became synonymous with “Kobe.” Like Oprah, Cher, or Madonna, only one word was necessary to comprehend who you were. That’s the kind of personal history you wrote.

Fittingly, you once wrote that “I played through the sweat and hurt not because challenge called me but because YOU called me. I did everything for YOU because that’s what you do when someone makes you feel as alive as you’ve made me feel.” Now, as you die, a part of the sport we love dies with you. Without you, the game will never feel complete again. Hopefully, you’ll rest in peace knowing that we will remember you. Zealous fans and ardent supporters will recall those five NBA titles, that MVP-winning season, the two Olympic gold medals, and those 18 All-Star appearances and immediately think “that was Kobe.” The kids, those who play in the streets of Los Angeles and work on their crossovers while watching your videos, will honor you and win like you did. They walk on the shoulders of a giant.

Thank you, Kobe Bryant.