It was on a gloomy day on the morning of January 26th in Los Angles, California when Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and six other passengers lost their lives in a helicopter accident. It was at this point that the basketball world stood still.
Bryant was a five-time champion, 15-time All-NBA team, 12-time All-Defensive team. He led the league in scoring twice, 18 All-Star games – including winning a slam dunk champion title – two-time Olympic gold medalist, and a future hall of famer this summer.
More importantly that any statistic, Kobe touched millions of lives, including lives here at Rockhurst.
Asked about what Bryant meant to him, Spencer Moes a sophomore and student athlete on the basketball team currently studying pre-med when said “When I first heard the news I almost passed out. Kobe was the reason I started playing basketball and for that he changed my life dramatically.”
Not only was Kobe Bryant an icon on the court, but off the court is where some argue he made his greatest impacts. From his countless donations, charities, winning an Oscar and most importantly being a “girl dad” as he loved calling himself, Kobe showed there was so much that we could all give if we just gave it our best with a Mamba mentality even if it had nothing to do with basketball.
Madeline Ronshausen who is a senior student athlete on the basketball team majoring in education, said “The news of Kobe passing was hard to believe. It just goes to show how precious life really is because we never know when it is our last day so we should all live with the Mamba mentality.”
Ronshausen added is dedicating the rest of her senior season to Kobe’s daughter Gianna because she never got the chance to experience playing college basketball. Gianna was often seen following in Kobe’s footsteps and was already receiving division one looks from top programs like the University of Connecticut, Tennessee and Oregon.
Across the entire basketball community, teams in college and the pros take 8 second violations and 24 second violations at the beginning of games to honor the numbers he wore. Bryant impacted everyone he encountered and even more people he never met but influenced immensely.
It is often said that people really die twice. The first being physically and the second time is when their name is never mentioned again. It is more than fair to say that Kobe will continue to live with and inside all of us for an abundant amount of time. Heroes come and go, but legends like Kobe Bryant will live forever.