There are a few poignant moments that resonate with my soul in this lifetime.
The first would be watching the space shuttle challenger explode in the school auditorium in 1986 . The second would be the death of my grandmother later that year in Dec. Following on there would be the birth of my son in 1992 and the subsequent birth of my daughter in 1995. These are all personal moments. Moments that involved family, moments that made me take a step back to reevaluate my life.
There have been two incidents in the last ten months that have also touched my soul. Moments that have made me feel like members of my family were detached from my energy source. Moments that feel like “a glitch in the matrix”. those moments include the death of the late great Nipsey Hussle and now the death of Kobe Bryant.
I am a lifelong fan of the Purple and gold. I was drawn in by the showtime Lakers. I have been a fan since Magic’s behind the back pass. I’ve been a fan since Kareems sky hook and his NBA’s all time scoring recognition. Since Kurt Rambis doubled down on Kevin Mchale and dominated a forward position. I’ve screamed at the television when Lonzo Ball chucked an air ball or Ac Green missed a clutch 3. I’ve seen Smush Parker come off the bench for 10 and I’ve wondered WHAT THE FUCK IS ANDREW BYNUM Doing?
There is however no player that I loved to watch play basketball on the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team more than Kobe Bryant.
To me Kobe was the truly the Black Mamba. Kobe was an innate killer on the court only second to Micheal Jordan. Kobe was never afraid to carry the team on his back. Kobe wanted the ball in his hands for the last shot. Kobe literally gritted his teeth with an absolute determination to win at all times.
Kobe Bryant was the antithesis of every grade school teacher’s mantra that it “isn’t about winning, it’s about how you play the game”. Sure, go ahead and tell that to the 18 time (in 20 years) AllStar. Tell it to the 2x Gold medalist. Tell that to the five time NBA Champion. Tell that to the 3rd all time NBA leading scorer (surpassed by Lebron James the night before his death.)
The list of accolades continue for nearly half of a page.
Kobe Bean Bryant was a winner. He wanted to win, and he made his fans feel like they were winners because his desire to win was so strong.
The death of Kobe Bryant has felt like the loss of a family member. I mean, we watched him play basketball night after night For 20 years after all. We watched him Give interviews, we watched him with his daughters and his wife. We cheered him on in his spectacular 60 point game exit. He was my little bro Kobe.
I cheered again when he received his academy award for his animated short. Dear Basketball in 2018. (Watching this Again today actually brought me to tears)
So Kobe, I would just like to say thank you for showing me, thank you for showing Black Americans what life can be like if you choose to be a winner.
Thank you for laying the foundation and a blueprint that we can all follow. A foundation that can only be built upon with hard work and dedication.
We are all aware of our circumstances and our ability to control them. Many of us however take our most precious gift, the gift of time for granted.
When it is all put into perspective we can say this. When you died you died a champion of all things that you put your mind to. Those of us who recognized you wanted to ball like you. Those who create films wanted to create films like you. We all want to have our kids see us as this super hero as I’m sure you kids do. (R.I.P. Gigi you were lucky enough to go with your hero and not alone) Further more I think every person wants to feel like they have accomplished something by the time they leave here.
I’ve heard the term mamba mentality when they talk about you. It has always been more of a wrestling type of moniker when I’ve heard it.
‘In your death I begin to see what it actually means. I watch the smooth transitions as you go in for the strike. The television replays move after move in your tributes. I look at the poise you held while everyone around you stared in awe of how such a killer could remain so majestic. I thank you for the thrills of the last second buckets. I thank you for the joy you brought to Lakers fans and fans of the game period. Thank you for giving our kids someone outside of their sometimes rough environments to look up to and to aspire to be like. Thank you for showing us what a champion looks like. It has been important to see these champions with brown skin.
In closure, condolences can never fill in the grief that your surviving family members will undoubtedly go through for the rest of their lives. So I will not print condolences. Instead I will encourage all people, but especially black people in America to honor Kobe’s legacy by adopting a bit more of that mamba mentality. Focus more on greatness instead of gossip. Support your children and teach them to be great. Get off of the couch and start by getting in the gym a few minutes a day. Put the bottle down and put that money for an 8th in the bank. Save toward something that will change your future. Compete even if you start competing against yourself first. Take that first step outside of your comfort zone towards your passions and strike with deadly force. Make sure that once you’ve taken your last breath you have truly given all that you can give up to that point and live like a winner.
Rest in peace to ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES AS A RESULT OF THE FATAL HELICOPTER CRASH.
Kobe Bean Bryant August 23rd 1979-January 26th 2020