The Student News Site of Taipei American School




A tribute to the Black Mamba


Jan. 26, 2020 will be a day remembered by the world.
It will not be because of the Grammys, and it will not be because of the NFL Pro Bowl.
The world will remember this day because Kobe Bryant–the 18 times NBA all star, five time NBA champion and first ballot hall of famer– passed away alongside his daughter Gigi Bryant in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
It was only just yesterday that Lakers star Lebron James passed Kobe for third on the all time NBA scoring list. And it probably only feels like yesterday when the black mamba dropped 61 points in his last game as a Laker, hitting all the clutch shots that he was known for to lead his team to victory over the Utah Jazz.
The whole sports world was extremely devastated upon receiving news about his tragic passing. Within minutes of the news, hall of famer Kareem Abdul Jabbar posted a video of condolence to Kobe’s wife–Vanessa Bryant– and his three daughters. Within hours, other athletes and celebrities flooded social media with posts honoring Kobe and remembering his achievements.
Kobe cemented his legacy by not only being an extraordinary basketball player, but also an icon and an influence to this beautiful game. Kobe revolutionized the game as soon as he entered the league. At just 17 years old, he was drafted as 13th in the 1996 NBA draft. He was one of the first players to skip college in order to chase his dreams. The example he set also led to the introduction of many other great basketball players such as Lebron James, Tracy Mcgrady, and Dwight Howard. 
Later in his 20 year career, Kobe completely transformed the league. It is impossible to try and define Kobe’s influence and greatness in just a few sentences. Kobe was well known around the world for his slogan ‘Mamba Mentality’. His incredible work ethic was one often remarked on  by his peers. It is more than fair to say that the foundation of Kobe’s greatness all relied on his self discipline and the time he spent inside the gym, perfecting his craft. Kobe also introduced the league to an idea of ‘loyalty’, for all his 20 seasons was devoted to the Los Angeles Lakers. Ranging from winning a championship to having a 17-65 record, Kobe never jumped ship, but always remained steady at the anchor for the team. After his retirement in 2016, many fans thought that it would be the last time we would get to see such greatness being created; but they were wrong. 
After his retirement, Kobe created Mamba Academy, a school where Kobe would often coach or hold basketball camps. Kobe also became a big supporter of the WNBA (women’s national basketball league), watching games with his daughter, Gigi Bryant, and speaking out for equality in the sports world. Current NBA stars also often went to Kobe for advice. It was usual to see players post pictures after a hardcore workout with the mamba himself.
It was truly emotional to see almost everyone show their respect for this basketball legend. People were flooding in front of Lakers homecourt, Staples Center, gathering to remember this superstar. Mini-memorials can be seen all around streets dedicated to the one and only mamba. NBA players also showed their respects during their games today. The San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors ran out the 24 second shot clock at the start of the game to honor Kobe’s jersey number 24. Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young wore number 8 during his game today instead of his usual 11 to honor Kobe’s other jersey number 8. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban honored this superstar by announcing that no Mavericks player will ever wear the number 24 ever again. Honestly, it was for all those memories, good or bad, that truly made Kobe a household name and an icon that will live on forever. 
Kobe’s passing will forever scar our community, but the numbers 8 and 24 will always have extra meaning to us and his spirit will live on with us forever.
Rest in peace Kobe, goodbye.

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