On Jan. 26, 2020, we didn’t just lose you, Kobe Bryant. We lost a legendary man. You were unbeatable. One of the most incredible athletes — scratch that — people this world has ever seen. You set the example of how to work hard, how to play the right, clean way, and most importantly, how to be a decent human being.
I grew up wearing your purple and gold jersey. Your last name was stitched to the back of my childhood. Each morning when I woke up, I ran outside to my driveway and pretended I was Kobe Bean Bryant, one of the best basketball players this world has ever seen. But it wasn’t just me. Millions of kids grew up watching you, admiring you, wanting to be that 17-year-old out of Philly’s Lower Merion High School. The example you set for all of us is unbeatable.
What you did on the court was mesmerizing. 81 points in a game. 33,643 points all-time. Five time NBA champion. 15-time All-Star. You truly had that “Mamba Mentality” about you. You were the Alpha on the court. No matter the game or the opponent, you were going to outduel them.
No matter who walks into the NBA, no one will be equivalent to you, Kobe.
But I think what you did off the court was even more remarkable than your basketball career. Caring about your kids, loving your wife unconditionally, and being one of the most mature, graceful men in sports made you the icon you turned out to be. You would do anything for your kids to succeed. You would do anything to see your wife, Vanessa, happy. You were the best.
And on Jan. 26, 2020, my heart sank as I read the unimaginable words that popped up on my phone screen. This couldn’t be true. It just couldn’t be. I begged and begged that it wasn’t true until reality set in. You, Kobe Bryant, the man who shaped my childhood, was gone in a blink.
If we can find any small silver lining out of this awful occurrence, it’s that every day is not guaranteed. So go out and live. You’ve only got one life, so go shock the world. Tell a family member or friend that you love them. Do something meaningful, and dedicate it to Kobe.
Here’s to you, Kobe. The whole world already misses you, and you can feel it in the air. It’s not the same without you. And we will sure keep loving you.