An Ode to a Legend

An Ode to a Legend

“Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.”
-Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant was one of the most successful and lethal professional basketball players in the world, who was also known as the Black Mamba by his admirers. Kobe in 1996 was drafted into the National Basketball Association by the Los Angeles Lakers. In the 20 years that he played in the league, he was an 18-times NBA All-star, 5 times NBA Champion, 2 times NBA Finals MVP, 1997 Slam dunk champion, 4 times All-star MAP, an Oscar, and many more accolades.

Kobe Bryant was born in Philadelphia as the youngest of the three children of Joe Bryant (NBA player) and Pamela Cox Bryant. During his tenure at high school, he was the first freshman in years to start for the varsity team. In 1995 during one of the basketball camps by Adidas, he got the senior MVP award. A commendable player, by his senior year he was bestowed with many more awards for his prodigious performances. In 1996, Kobe Bryant got drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers as the 13th pick in the first round. He signed a 3-year Rookie contract for 3.5 million dollars.

Over the years with the expansion of the game, the way basketball was played also evolved. The reason behind Kobe Brant’s fame is that he never gave up on hard work (as cliche as that might sound). He is still said to be an indefatigable basketball player in the professional league. There are numerous reports of him being caught working for hours before a game, even before the staff arrived! Kobe is also the second-highest scoring player in a single game with a staggering score of 82 points.  He is said to be one of the most ferocious basketball players to have entered the league, earning the alias ‘Black Mamba’.

One of the highlights of Bryant’s career was the 1998 All-Star games when he played against Michael Jordan. This marked the beginning of an everlasting bond between the two luminaries who were dubbed “The Jump Brothers” by the public. Jordan even went to the extent of saying that if there was anyone capable of drubbing him on the court, it was Kobe Bryant and that was no exaggeration.

On the morning of 26th January, the world was given the heartbreaking news of the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant. They were on their way from John Wayne Airport, California to Camarillo Airport, California along with 6 other passengers, to witness the basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy. At 0945 hrs their helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain in Calabasas. Due to the absence of a black box in their chopper, the investigators were unable to identify the origin of the crash. However, on the 28th of January officials confirmed the death of this legend and stated that blunt force trauma was the official cause of death. His family held a private funeral on the 7th of February. Soon afterwards, his death was commemorated with a public memorial service where family and friends alike (including Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Geno Auriemma) spoke and the renowned anchor Jimmy Kimmel hosted this mournful procession. 

“When Kobe Bryant died a piece of me died and as I look across the globe, a piece of you died.” -Michael Jordan (His speech during the Kobe Bryant memorial)

Kobe Bryant will forever be remembered as one of the greatest sportsmen to have played professional basketball and his death was a calamitous event for every aspiring basketball player, for every family who watched the NBA in their homes, for every basketball player who knew him and most of all for the sport itself. It was an appalling loss for his friends, family and followers and on the 26th of January 2020, the world lost a legend. 

– Aaditt Goswaamii

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