It’s a mindless phrase we yell as we try to drown a shot into the trash can that now holds so much weight to it.
As the news rippled through the nation on Jan. 26 about the death of Kobe Bryant and eight other individuals, fans gathered at the Staples Center to pay their respects to the LA Lakers legend.
The 18 time All-Star had an affect on not only the NBA, but the community in which he lived. Byrant played all 20 years of his basketball career with the LA Lakers, retiring in 2016.
In his time in LA, Bryant helped lead the team to three consecutive championships from 2000-2003. He scored his career high of 81 points in one game in 2006, making him the second in NBA history to do so in one game.
Byrant shattered records, becoming the youngest player at 34 to score 30 thousand career points and became the first guard to play at least 20 seasons.
Even in all that time he spent on the course, it was what he did in the four years of retirement that has left the most impact. After basketball, Bryant became an Oscar winner, writer and, most important to him, a full-time dad.
Bryant founded Granity Studios, a multimedia platform where he produced a TV show for ESPN+ created podcasts. It is eventually the platform that led him to creating the short film “Dear Basketball,” earning him an Oscar award.
He inspired many with his book “Mamba Mentality; How I Play,” describing how he became so successful in not only basketball, but in life.
“Mamba mentality is all about focusing on the process and trusting in the hard work when it matters most,” Bryant said. It is a mentality that started as a simple hashtag on social media and turned into a mindset for athletes and non-athletes alike.
It’s a mentality that he brought from the court into his personal life as a father and a coach to his own daughter, Gianna, who was also in the fatal crash.
Gianna was one of the four Bryant daughters and was probably the most outspoken. When Bryant was approached by fans asking about him trying to have a boy to carry on his legacy, Gigi, as they called her, would respond by saying,”Oy, I got this. You don’t need a boy for that,” and was always backed up by her father’s confidence.
It was stories like this one of Bryant and Gianna that inspired the hashtag “girldad” to trend after the crash. Even after his last breath, Bryant was inspiring fathers to share stories of the bond between them and their own daughters.
So while the sports world and the families of all nine victims will have heavy hearts for a long time to come, it is the examples Bryant set on and off the court that will live on.
Lebron James put it best in his tribute to his late friend, “In the words of Kobe Bryant, ‘Mamba out.’ But in the words of us, ‘Not forgotten.’”