By Byler Henry, Writer, The Westside Gazette
Another legend has passed away at 41, and it still doesn’t feel real. On Sunday, sports icon Kobe Bryant, his 13-year- old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a tragic helicopter crash. This tragedy seemed to hit hard because we watched him grow and evolve from a 17-year-old high kid to a family man with four daughters.
Not only a Laker legend, he was also an NBA legend who was determined to make his mark on the game of basketball. Drafted straight out of Lower Merion high school, he entered with the confidence of a veteran. He was striving to better than Michael Jordan and he came close, he is the closest to Mike that we have seen. He was able to carve out a 20 year career with the Lakers, in those years he managed to become an 18 time all star, 15 time member of the All-NBA team, 12 time member of the All-defensive team, an MVP winner, 2 time Gold medal winner, 5 time NBA champion, 2 time finals MVP, and being 4th on the all time scoring list with 33,643 career points. Focus, dedication, and being the ultimate cold blooded competitor has earned him the nickname the Black Mamba.
Not only a star on the court, he was also a star off the court. He took the Mamba mentality with him while venturing into his second career of storytelling, his animated short film Dear Basketball won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short film. He also put his efforts into giving to youth and philanthropy. With his wife Vanessa he founded the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, with the goal to help the homeless youth in Los Angeles. He also was a milestone donor contributing $1 million or more for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, he donated his Wizenard book series to Lebron’s I Promise School, he donated money to a Sacramento area high school’s basketball team which was in desperate need of financial assistance according to the coach, and he has raised money for cancer research and medical expenses.
Although Kobe is gone, his legacy will live on forever. The Mamba mentality lives on, and it can be applied in our lives. No matter what you do in life, give it everything that you got, and never give up. And the main thing to take away from this tragedy is that life is short. Tomorrow is not promised, and we have to learn to treasure every moment. So take the time to cherish loved ones and let go of any grudges you may be holding onto, because you never know when God will call somebody home. R.I.P. Kobe Bean Bryant, forever a legend.
“Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, smile and just keep on rolling.”