Kobe Bryant, the legendary NBA star, died on 26th January 2020 along with his 11-year-old daughter Gianna known as Gigi. Also 7 other people – a baseball coach, a pilot…The helicopter they were traveling in crashed outside Los Angeles. The private helicopter plummeted into hills in Calabasas in California, northwest of Los Angeles. It went down and caught fire on Calabasas, California about 30 miles outside Los Angeles. In a tweet, the city of Calabasas said the aircraft came down in a remote field off Las Virgenes about 10amon Sunday Local time. Everyone on board was on their way to a youth basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy. That is a training center opened by Kobe Bryant for young athletes. It opened just a year ago.
In November 1999, the 21-year-old Kobe Bryant met 17-year-old Vanessa Laine while she was working as a background dancer. The two began dating and became engaged six months later in May 2000. They married on April 18, 2001, at Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Dana Point California. They have four children – Bianca, Gianna, Talia, and Capri.
Kobe Bryant was, of course, a basketball legend, but also a businessman, author, husband, and father. Bryant would routinely skip going to Lakers games after his retirement to attend his daughter’s games. Despite Kobe’s athletic gifts and his obsession to win, he always put family above everything. Kobe’s wife is Vanessa Laine Bryant and he had four daughters – Natalia Diamante Bryant, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, Bianka Bella Bryant Capri Kobe Bryant. His main job was his family after retiring in 2016. Kobe said in an interview that his biggest challenge in coaching his own daughter was making sure that Gigi knows that he loves her whether she plays well or like crap. It doesn’t matter, it’s fine! You are my daughter before you are a basketball player. He was also a father to so many others; he inspired a generation of athletes and that included Gianna’s teammates. Kobe Bryant was a role model for his children.
From the time we first saw him as an ascending star at Lower Merion High school outside Philadelphia, Kobe Bryant did more than shine! He captivated, and faster than that, he dominated! Picked 19th in the 1996 NBA draft by Charlotte Hornets, he was traded that same day to the LA Lakers. Bryant would become the youngest player ever to appear in an NBA game. By his second season, he was an NBA All-star, playing with a flare feeling instinct that for many, conjured Micheal Jordan. By his fourth season, the year 2000, playing alongside Shaquille O’Neal, he was an NBA champion -the first of three consecutive titles for the Lakers.
After Shaq left LA Lakers, Bryant would become a leading light and unrelenting scorer in the league – famously dropping 81 points against Toronto Raptors in 2006. He won the scoring title that season and then in 2007. He was named league MVP in 2008. But for all the individual awards, Bryant team accomplishments in L.A weren’t done. He carried the Lakers to NBA titles the next two seasons in 2009 and 2010 earning finals MVP both times. His ruthless drive became known as the Mamba Mentality -And perhaps showed most when he returned from a devastating Achilles injury in 2013 to play three more seasons. And perhaps the most memorable finale to an NBA career ever, he scored 60 points in his final game.
In 2016, Kobe Bryant retired from the league as an 18 times All-star, 5 time NBA champion and 2 time Olympic Gold medalist. Bryant was widely expected to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of fame the first bound late this year. One name, one icon, one legacy, Kobe Bryant, was 41 years old.
Kobe Bryant was the third-largest investor of BodyArmor. Kobe invested about 6 million dollars in BodyArmour. BodyAmor is a sports drink. BodyArmor competes with Gatorade and Powerade. It has really been capturing a remarkable percentage of the market share. His social following helps in pushing the brands that he supports. In the 4 years’ time, Kobe has made 200 million off his 6 million dollar investment. Let me put this into perspective for you; it took Kobe Bryant, 15 seasons in the league to make 200 million. What caused the massive leap in his investment is that Cocacola purchased its stake in the drink. Why? Pepsi owns Gatorade, and Coca-Cola will do anything to hurt the competition. Due to this, Kobe is worth 500 million dollars which is based on the assets we only know about. Kobe went all in for BodyArmour – creating marketing strategies as well as marketing the drink himself.
He had mentors like Ellon Musk, who inspired him to do research and use his imagination to take his ideas to the next level. He partnered with Nike and ventured into the Chinese market. It was strategic and successful because he speaks Chinese, he is famous and fans adore him there.
Kobe was also taking time to build his media company, tell sports stories as well as inspire the up and coming generation of athletes such as Jason Tatum, Trae Young, and Devin Booker among many others.
People paid a special tribute to Kobe Bryant outside his high school (Lower Merion High school). Kobe was one of the first students to go straight from high school to the NBA after high school – keep in mind he was 17 years old. Even though Kobe Bryant was a basketball star, he ended up bigger than basketball.
There are countless athletes who can sell shoes or shoot hoops around the world, but Kobe Bryant was perhaps America’s most authentic international sports superstar because Kobe Bryant could also speak the language – several in fact; Spanish, Italian, and Chinese. Multilingual, multi championships, five rings in all for a generational figure who emerged from high school and took his game to the GAME. He became a 17-time all-star. He was, in fact, LeBron James before LeBron, who, even as a teenager, played basketball like a grown man. The kind of self-confidence he had as a really young player was rare and remarkable.
He had a historic career complete with unwavering intensity. One of his most iconic moments was when Bryant simply refused to flinch as Matt Barnes pumped faked a hard pass at his head after the pair had a series of physical play.
He never backed down from a big moment, he never was afraid to take the big shot, and that is why everybody loved him, especially young people. In this age where stardom and scandal can be synonymous, Bryant had his time in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. He was accused of rape after what Bryant described as Consensual sex; the case never went to trial as the alleged victim refused to testify. The resettlement was reached in civil court.
When Kobe retired, NBA players around the league expressed their appreciation in a fun farewell. In retirement, Kobe began his second act and called on the same intensity to make it in the business and media world. Besides, his business, he embraced women’s basketball, a passion he shared with his daughter. He would be her mentor and coach.
As an athlete, Kobe Bryant had few peers – child protégé to times bruiting superstar to a successful entrepreneur. At 41, he lived a short life but by most accounts, he lived it his way – authentic, fierce, and without apology!
Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.
I’ll do whatever it takes to win games, whether it’s sitting on a bench waving a towel, handing a cup of water to a teammate, or hitting the game-winning shot.
These young guys are playing checkers. I’m out there playing chess.
My parents are my backbone. Still are. They’re the only group that will support you if you score zero or you score 40.
I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan. I only want to be Kobe Bryant.
There’s been a lot of talk of me being a one-man show, but that’s simply not the case. We win games when I score 40 points and we’ve won when I score 10.
There are many times in his career that he indicated that he had faith, and his faith was of great consolation to him in dark times particularly his catholic faith.
Kobe was a person who inspired a lot of guys and football fans from all over the world. His passion for the game of basketball went on and off the basketball court.
Kobe Bryant was not your ordinary basketball player. He started shooting hoops when he was only 2 years old. His father was a former basketball player. Because of how much he loved basketball and his world revolved around it – the world became his library to better his craft.
Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men. Proverbs 22:29 NKJV
Kobe’s talent led him to interact and sit with the elite, with those in power –including President Barack Obama.
Kobe dominated the basketball world. He gave himself to the game. He loved it and enjoyed it.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over [a]all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26 NKJV
Kobe Bryant did not need motivation or to be pushed. He knew what he wanted and had a plan of how he would achieve it. He clearly wanted to be the best player he can. As such, he pushed himself to do better. Kobe Bryant put in a lot of hard work. He was committed and knew that success came at a cost – which he was very willing to pay. He woke up as early as 4 am to practice. He put in the time and work. He never relied on luck. He never wanted to have any regrets after he retired. That is why he never took vacations with friends as some NBA players are accustomed to.
Anybody who has competed against Kobe Bryant knew his competitive nature and the difficult task that lied ahead of them. Kobe Bryant game’s had evolved and gotten better. Kobe Bryant was once accused by his teammate O’Neal Shaquille of being selfish with the ball. Over time, Kobe Bryant passed more and became a team player, thus bringing out the best out of his teammates. He had the Mamba mentality! He was relentless in attacking the paint. He left the game on his own terms and not after he suffered the Achilles injury.
Kobe encouraged the young basketballers and made them feel comfortable. Damian Lillard says that Kobe encouraged him when they were playing together for team USA. He told him that he would have made it to the team the previous year but he needs only to give his best and shoot when he gets to the court. To add to that, he told him that they should keep in touch. Damian felt encouraged and motivated.
Kobe Bryant paid tribute to LeBron James on Twitter when he surpassed Bryant’s spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Ron Artest suffered from mental illness and had serious anger issues. He once beat up a fan for throwing soda at him. It was a disgrace to the NBA fraternity. Artest and his teammates were suspended. After some time, he moved to other clubs and did not thrive. However, Ron Artest joined Kobe Bryant on the Lakers in 2009 and helped the Lakers win the championship. Artest says how he admired Kobe Bryant and how they had a long chat when he joined the organization. Artest was able to thrive because of the support system he had around him. Kobe Bryant was one of the people who helped him keep his mind in shape. Ron Artest won his first championship and was very grateful because he was also a talented player who had always longed to win his first championship.
When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy. Proverbs 11:10 NIV
You can actually tell that Kobe was a good person by the kind of tributes he has received.
What I have learned from Kobe’s death is to take advantage of the moment, of today and of life. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. As such, we must choose to live intentionally, to live life to the fullest, to enjoy life, to be grateful and, most of all, leave the world better than we found it.