Mamba Forever


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The late Kobe Bryant soars through the air for a slam dunk.

Jordan Davis, Senior, Staff Reporter

On a grim Sunday morning, that world lost not only a hero but a legend. Longtime NBA legend Kobe Bean Bryant, who was 41 years old, was taken from the world in a fatal helicopter crash that took his life along with the lives of eight other victims, including his beloved 13 year old daughter Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant. The victims include Payton Chester, 13; Sarah Chester, 45; Alyssa Altobelli, 14; Keri Altobelli, 46; John Altobelli, 56; Christina Mauser, 38; and the pilot, Ara Zobayan, 50. Kobe and the other passengers were traveling to his daughter’s basketball game in Calabasas, California.

They chose to travel in weather conditions that were not the best. They were so horrible that even the Los Angeles Police Department decided it was best to ground their helicopter fleet. Bryant commonly preferred to travel in his own helicopter, so traveling to Calabasas in this situation was ordinary for him, but the outcome was not.

Kobe Bryant was born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to the son of former NBA play Joe Bryant. He attended Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania and gained recognition as one of the top high school basketball players in the country at the time. After graduating from high school in 1996, he declared for the NBA Draft and forego college. In the 1996 NBA Draft, Bryant would be drafted 13th to the Charlotte Hornets, but he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers shortly thereafter and played in L.A. for the next 20 years.

As a rookie in the league, Bryant overcame several hardships and obstacles. He infamously “choked” in the playoffs, which stained his reputation. Then, in his sophomore season, he saw increases in his stats and in his performance, earning his very first All-Star selection.

In a long but beneficial stretch from his rookie year to 2004, Bryant found great success with the Lakers. Teaming up with Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq), one of the most dominant NBA players of all time, he won three consecutive NBA championships back to back with the Lakers, from 2000 to 2002. After losing the 2004 NBA Finals, Shaq was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers, and Bryant became the cornerstone of the Lakers dynasty for the rest of his career.

Entering the prime of his career, Bryant led the NBA in scoring in 2005-06 and 2006-07. His 2006-07 season was memorable as it was the same season he scored a record 81 points in a single game. To the present day, this is the second highest number of points ever scored in a single game.
…..He won his only Most Valuable Player (MVP) award the following season and would go on to win two more championships in 2009 and 2010, with 2010 being the year he would also win NBA Finals MVP.

Towards the end of Kobe’s career, he maintained his spot as one of the top players in the league. But as he got older, he suffered from injuries, some minor and some major, such as a torn Achilles tendon in 2013. After suffering from this decline, Bryant retired from the league in 2016.

Bryant primarily grew to fame for his NBA career, but his work off the court deserves to be acknowledged as well. In 1999, Kobe met his future wife, Vanessa Laine They married in 2001 and had four daughters. In 2003, Bryant signed a contract with Nike, which lasted for the remainder of his life.

In 2017, he earned a unique recognition: Bryant won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film as the executive producer of Dear Basketball, a film based on a letter Bryant wrote for the Players Tribune. This marked the first Academy Award win for any professional athlete. He also won an ESPY Icon Award in 2016.

Bryant will be remembered for not just for his athletic skill, but the inspirational motivation he provided for others and so much more. The way he lived life, the way he became a role model for his attention to his children and all his family, was so inspirational to so many who were fans of the type of person he is. Kobe Bryant, and all the other victims in the crash will be missed and mourned for a very long time.