One of the goats is gone: Remembering the impact of Kobe Bryant

When I was a teenager, my ADHD insisted that standing in an outfield, waiting for a baseball to be hit in my direction was not going to work. One day, I while I was bored on YouYube, I was watching different basketball videos, and I came across Damien Lillard vs Kobe Bryant. Watching the young rookie, Lillard, test his skills against one of the all time greats who was in the final leg of his career. Kobe, regardless of Lillard battling with 30 points, still showed why he was one of the greats by dropping 30 plus of his own and winning the game. After that , all my youtube history was basketball highlights, from player highlights to historic videos of the game to tutorial videos on how to perform certain moves. Because of Bryant, I fell in love with the game. The NBA style and vibe was something I became so fascinated and interested in that I wanted to learn everything.

Even though my dreams were big, my talent was small. As I struggled to find motivation to keep improing my game and work on my skills, I continued to watch documentaries on my idol as well as interviews of him speaking on determination and the work he had to put in. He taught me not see my problems and disadvantages as excuses, but just as obstacles I can overcome. Not only in basketball, but in life Bryant has taught me that my attitude and confidence are keys every successful person has. Watching him perform, it is evident he was willing to do anything to win, and I looked up to that “mamba mentality”.

When I heard the news of his passing, I was at work. I felt my stomach turn, and it felt like I wasn’t in my body the rest of that shift. I just couldn’t believe it.

I was able to make through the rush, but on my drive home, I shed tears for the first time in a long time. His death woke me up. It’s made me do a complete 180 and realize I need to appreciate my life and the people around me, and to embrace the struggle. “To wake up and to strive to be a better person than you were before”. That was Kobe’s definition of the mamba mentality.