January 26, 2020 - The day the entire world came together to mourn the loss of a true hero, icon and legend.
The shocking news hit early afternoon that Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter and seven others. First reported by TMZ, I thought it was just a hoax.
Unfortunately, reliable sources starting confirming the horrible report. ESPN, ABC, NBC...this was not a bad dream, it’s now a reality.
Having a few hours to reflect on this situation allowed me to gather the right words about Kobe’s impact on my life. This isn’t about just some sport or some player. Everything you hear about him is 100% accurate. Dedicated husband and father, role model, the Mamba Mentality, in the gym at 4 a.m. everyday, supporting all aspects of the sports world - you name it, Kobe had an influence.
As did most kids growing up in my generation, Kobe had a huge impact on my life. As an eight-year-old growing up in a small town, I absolutely loved basketball. It was the sport that ultimately created my entire life path. I never played organized basketball but my entire childhood you’d find me playing pickup basketball with my friends or shooting in the driveway for hours trying to perfect my craft. Just like Kobe.
Just like Kobe, I expected nothing less than perfection. When talking about his Mamba Mentality he said, “to be on a constant quest to try being the best version of yourself. That’s what the mentality is. It’s not a finite thing. It’s a constant quest to try to be better today than you were yesterday, and better tomorrow than you were the day before.” This has stayed with me for over 20 years. Kobe’s mentality lead me to the love of the sports universe. As a naive high schooler I had no idea what I wanted to study in college. Eventually I decided Sport Management was my calling. I love watching sports, I love reading about sports, and I love playing sports, why not make this my career? In college I competed in Cross Country and Track all four years. The countless lessons learned from watching Kobe were used everyday in that life. I’ve now been coaching eight years to teach my expertise to young athletes. Just like Kobe.
I remember falling in love with watching the Lakers every time they were on late night TV. I’m so thankful for the lessons Kobe taught me during his prime NBA days. All those different rosters, adversity, and celebrations were a replica of how life truly is. Nothing is given, everything is earned. Disappointments happen, injuries happen...but Kobe taught me to work hard no matter what. Use my talent to help others. Practice my craft as if I was a rookie with nothing to lose. This led me to follow my dream of creating my own fantasy football brand in 2018. I’ve now helped hundreds of people and have the drive to turn this brand into an empire. Just like Kobe.
The first time I had the chance to play NBA Live on Xbox in GameStop I played with the Lakers and will always remember how satisfying it felt to control Kobe just like I was him. His exact jump shot, jersey, and mechanics. The game felt so fluid, I was a kid in a candy shop. I will never forget that feeling.
There are a million things I could say about Kobe and his impact on the entire world but everyone needs to share their own personal experiences. There will never be another legend like Kobe Bryant. Yes, I’m heartbroken my childhood hero is gone but his legacy will live on forever. I strive to be the best husband, brother, son, friend, and coach possible. Just. Like. Kobe.
Thank you, Kobe. Rest In Peace.