The Mamba and His Legacy


Emily Plachta, Contributing Writer




Even for those who don’t know the game as well as others, January 26, 2020 has marked a very sad day in history with the passing of one of the best basketball players to have ever held a ball in their hands, Kobe Bryant. Early in the morning, Bryant and seven other passengers were caught in a helicopter crash that left no survivors, according to Among these passengers was Bryant’s 13 year-old-daughter, Gianna. As one of basketball’s greatest competitors and most accomplished athletes, he was a five-time NBA champion, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and an icon in global sports, nicknamed the “Mamba” after his speed and precision on the court.

For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning

— NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary … He will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.”

Kobe spent his entire twenty-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers after being traded by the Charlotte Hornets right out of highschool as the 13th overall NBA draft pick in 1996. By the end of his second season, Bryant earned the first of his 18 all-star selections, and by his fourth season had teamed with Shaquille O’Neal to win the first of three consecutive championships. As well as retiring as the NBA’s third all-time leading scorer, he was also expected to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

As Kobe Bryant’s death continues to spread around the world, many have made tributes to him as well as sent their prayers to his family to honor him and his legacy, as well as to honor the memory of his daughter. According to The Washington Post, President Trump called Bryant’s death “terrible news” on Twitter, while President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, sent “love and prayers” to Bryant’s family “on an unthinkable day.” “Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act,” Obama tweeted. “To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents.”

Other NBA legends such as Magic Johnson have stated that the game would not be the same without him. O’Neil who was close to Bryant and his family stated in a post on twitter, “There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through with this tragedy of [losing] my [niece] Gigi & my brother Kobe Bryant, I love u and u will be missed. My condolences [go] out to the Bryant family.”

According to The Washington Post, multiple NBA teams held tributes during games Sunday, some of which include intentionally holding the ball to incur a 24-second violation-a nod to one of Bryant’s jersey numbers. Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, who worked out with Bryant last summer, took the court wearing No. 8, Bryant’s other jersey number. Lastly, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said his organization would permanently retire Bryant’s No. 24 jersey.

Remembered as the “Mamba”, Bryant was known for his relentless effort in every game. His incredible shooting from what seemed like impossible shots coupled with his vast skill and strong knowledge of the game has made him one of the most known names in basketball. Many fans and members of the basketball community have said that there was never a game where he didn’t put in 100% effort into every play. “For most of the guys in this league … Kobe is their Jordan,” Celtics Coach Brad Stevens said. 

For most of the guys in this league … Kobe is their Jordan

— Celtics Coach Brad Stevens

Bryant’s legacy will be passed on through the generations, especially in the basketball community, but also in everyday life. In times of adversity, he reminds us that we need to have that Mamba mentality, where we don’t back down just because something gets hard. He reminds us that if we want something in life, we need to be willing to do whatever it takes to get it, and not to sit around waiting for it to happen. It’s a common thing among some players to shout “Kobe!” as if it will give us some sort of magic luck to help ball find the net. But for those who remember him, his legacy, and his message, when we say “Kobe” next time we shoot, we are really saying, “This one’s for you, Kobe”