Remembering the legacy of Kobe Bryant

Jacob Harris '21, Web Editor

On Sunday, January 26, the world seemed to stop for a moment. The news of a helicopter crash hit the media, with word of Kobe Bryant being one of the passengers killed in the accident along with his daughter and 7 others on board.

When I first heard the news I didn’t think it could be real. I didn’t believe it until I saw dozens of alerts from my phone about the tragic accident. It still didn’t seem real.

Icons like Kobe seem immortal to everyone that watches them. People with that status and that persona aren’t supposed to have endings like this. It feels like their lives are like a story, and every story has to have a happy ending. The news was horrific to begin with, but the fact that it was a man like Kobe Bryant made it that much more unimaginable.

Every young basketball player wants to be Kobe. I remember growing up and shooting in my driveway trying to hit the crazy fadeaways I’d see Kobe hit over and over again. He was just that guy. A winner, a grinder, the kind of player everybody wanted to look at and go, “I wanna be that guy.” However, his impact was so much more to young athletes than just as a basketball player. He was one of the most affluent athletes in the world, his motivational speeches captivated anybody who understood what it was like to play a sport. He stressed the mental parts of his game, which I took as motivation to do the same for my own sports.

It isn’t often such a universal player comes around in a sport and influences it like Kobe did. The game changed as soon as he walked on his first NBA court straight out of high school. Kids started picking up basketballs instead of the traditional football and baseball. The high school superstar from Pennsylvania took more than the basketball world by storm, but the entire sports community was consistently in awe over everything he did on the court.

The thing about Kobe that influenced me the most was his ‘Dear Basketball’ piece for his final season. It seems like just a goodbye to basketball, but it was so much more. He showed me that cherishing every moment of every game, every practice, every workout, is the key to being an athlete. This speech taught me that you never really know when you might play your last game, take your last shot, when the last time you step on a court will be.

The memories left by Kobe will never be forgotten by the sports world. The 33 thousand points, game-winners, 81 point game. Championships, fadeways, timeless moments that will live on as apart of Kobe’s basketball legacy. But what Kobe left with us forever was more than just basketball, I think I speak for every athlete when I say that I am forever thankful for his impact.