Some kid shouts and takes a step back as they toss a piece of balled up notebook paper into the trash can.
A simple memory. A treasured tradition. And now it is his legacy.
On Jan. 26 the world stopped. Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter, Gianna Maria Onore Bryant, 13, passed in a helicopter crash Sunday afternoon on the way to the Mamba Sports Academy for a basketball game scheduled that afternoon. This devastating news stopped many people in their tracks. Social Media posts began to flood the timeline as the heartbreaking story developed.
Kobe. Everyone knew who you were talking about. Born on Aug. 23, 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bryant was a well-rounded young man with a love for basketball. He played high school basketball at Lower Merion in Pennsylvania. He went straight to the NBA, drafted by the Charlotte Hornets as the 13th overall pick of the 1996 draft. He began his legacy at age 17, the youngest NBA player in history. An 18-time All-Star known for his scoring ability. He was also known for his multiple championship rings. Bryant and another All-Star, Shaquille O’Neal, won three NBA titles from 2000 to 2002, and again gained two more rings in 2009 and 2010. After his 20 year NBA career with the Lakers, he was assured to be a first ballot inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame later this year, according to CNN.
While known for his amazing talent on the court, his legacy meant more than turnaround jumpers. He inspired people all over the world. His impact can be seen here on NC State’s campus. A few students spoke on Kobe Bryant’s impact on their lives. First-year, Sincere Hale shared his thoughts on the tragedy.
“Kobe had a great influence on how I played football and the mentality I had on the field,” Hale said. “He really had the mentality of being the best and trying your best and trying your hardest at everything… Kobe’s mentality should live through all of us as we try to be successful and accomplish all of our goals.”
Kobe was an inspiration to many athletes across the nation. A member of the NC State intramural Basketball team and a third-year studying biochemistry, Brianna Harvey, shared her sentiments.
“I was a military kid so I moved every two to three years… Basketball was always my first introduction to a new place,” Harvey said. “When I lived in Fort Irwin in Southern California, there was a Military Appreciation game in the Staples Center and I saw his (Bryant’s) jersey up in the rafters. I always liked him as a player and his mentality on and off the court.”
Bryant’s mentality was an inspiration to all. His hard work and dedication to not only basketball, but to life was a mentality that many mirrored.
“Mamba Mentality is all about focusing on the process and trusting in the hard work when it matters most,” Bryant said. “It’s the ultimate mantra for the competitive spirit. It started just as a hashtag that came to me one day, and it’s grown into something athletes ― and even non-athletes ― embrace as a mindset.”
As Bryant stated, mamba mentality is more than a competitive spirit, it is a mantra to keep going. Many students mentioned the mamba mentality is something they live by. Adrian Gibbs, a first-year majoring in life sciences continues to be inspired by Bryant’s mentality.
“Kobe was not just a baller, but a motivation for all of us through his work ethic and family values,” Gibbs said. “His legacy is bigger than basketball…”
Kobe Bryant’s passing made the world stop. But his legacy and the mamba mentality will live on forever.
“I have nothing in common with lazy people who blame others for their lack of success,” Bryant said. “Great Things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses.”