To one of the greatest inspirations of our generation.
When I was a little kid, I would religiously watch Sportscenter every morning while I got ready for school. It was as habitual as brushing my teeth or putting my shoes on before I left for school. I loved sports back then just as much as I love them now, but the one that has always had a special place in my heart was basketball. Basketball was always my sport even from such a young age. I split time with baseball and soccer, but I always played basketball. I grew up in such an amazing age for basketball. Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul, Vince Carter, Carmelo Anthony, and Lebron James just to name a few. I mean what a time to be an NBA basketball fan and see all of these amazing all-time players play during the prime of their careers. But there is one name however, I left off of that list. That's because he belongs on a list of his own.
That name is Kobe Bryant. Kobe Bryant wasn't Michael Jordan, but he was the "Michael Jordan" of our generation. Not so much of his basketball ability, but because of his attitude that he had for the game. Kobe never had a day off. He played just as hard, if not harder, in practices than he did in games. He never wanted to be outworked in any aspect, and he never was. He had the heart of a champion in all aspects of his life.
If I was to try and simplify Kobe Bryant into one word, it would be "winner". Kobe was a winner at everything. On the court, off the court, it didn't matter. He was this larger than life personality while being one of the most down-to-earth characters in the sports world. He was one of the youngest basketball players ever to play in the NBA, but by the end of his career, he became one of the greatest mentors to the next generation of players. All Kobe ever wanted to do in life was be the best that he could possibly be. That's what Mamba Mentality really is. Kobe explained it best, "Mamba Mentality is all about focusing on the process and trusting in the hard work when it matters most."
Kobe inspired millions of young basketball players with this mentality and will continue to do so for years to come. This mentality goes beyond the sport of basketball and extends into the world around us.
On January 26th, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, as well as seven other people, died in a horrific helicopter crash. To honor him, and his legacy, I encourage everyone to live their lives with Mamba Mentallity.