Kobe Bryant inspired new generation of NBA athletes


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Kobe Bryant shoots over the outstretched arm of Washington Wizards defender Marcin Gortat. He went on to score 29 points as the Lakers lost 111-95 to the Wizards on December 3, 2014.

On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash along with eight other people, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. His death shocked the world and saddened NBA fans.

People didn’t believe that his death was true, they wanted it to be fake.

“I couldn’t believe that he died. I didn’t think it was real when I first saw it. It was such a tragic accident and I just hope something like that never has to happen again,” senior Andrew Schell said.

His death was all over the news, spreading around the world within an hour of his death.

“I was at a basketball game for my sister when I glanced at my phone and saw the Apple news notification that he passed. I didn’t believe it at first, but then those who were sitting around me all started to see the same thing I had seen. Throughout the day I kept googling it, hoping it wasn’t real, but by the end of the day, I knew it was true. It was a horrible feeling. An icon was gone too soon,” junior Kru Corke said.

Kobe contributed to the game in so many different ways that can’t be measured in statistics.

“His motivation and passion were one of the greatest ever seen. He played well even through terrible injuries,” junior Eli Limonchik said.

He also could score whenever he wanted from wherever he wanted. He had all the offensive tools to give defenses nightmares when trying to guard him.

“The most impressive thing about Kobe Bryant to me was just how effortless scoring was for him. If you watch old clips of his early days or any reruns from his final years, he was unguardable. The ability for him to create his own shot, drive to the basket with ease, shoot a jump shot and/or three-pointer all while being guarded by upwards of three-four people at the same time is just out of this world. Very few people have ever played like him or will ever play like him,” Corke said.

On the defensive side of the ball, he was the leader of the team. He had a commanding presence as he always guarded the other team’s best scorer. Kobe was a 12-time All-Defensive Team including nine first team selections which is tied for the most with Michael Jordan, Gary Payton and Kevin Garnett.

Kobe was an inspiration to younger NBA players as he always pushed himself to be the best player he could possibly be. He created the Mamba mentality in order to describe his relentless pursuit and hunger to get better.

“Kobe’s work ethic was unmatched and he left a lasting impact as many players strive to
have a Mamba mentality,” Schell said.