| By Anna Muir
Yesterday was a sad day. The news of Kobe Bryant’s passing shocked most of the world to its very core. Bryant was so much more than a basketball player. He was a childhood hero for so many, an embodiment of the ideal that hard work will get you far. His mentality was unparalleled, his personality humble and endearing. His success was marvelled at by all, regardless of personal team allegiance. Kobe Bryant embodies everything that sport should be and it’s a sad day when his presence is no longer tangible.
We overuse the word ‘legend’ nowadays but there is no other word that could really encompass what Kobe Bryant was. He was and will always be a legend. A legend in basketball, a legend in sports but more importantly, a personal legend to any one who looked up to him.
Kobe Bryant has always been so much more than a basketball legend to people around the world though. He has been a beacon of hope and light, a reminder of the true powers of grit and determination. On a personal note, Bryant has been a strong supporter of female sports and the empowering of females in male dominated sectors. His encouragement for women was one of the reasons that I became so engrossed in the world of sports.
Whether you followed basketball or not, Kobe Bryant was always a name that brought a smile to your face. Maybe because you used to shoot rolled up paper into the bin yelling ‘Kobe’ or because his interviews were plastered over every social media page or maybe you just remember his name because so many people around you were constantly talking about him. Whatever it may be, Kobe’s reach went far beyond the sporting world and the devastating loss of such a figure will be permanently etched into the history books. Of course his 20 years of service to the Lakers will be a defining factor in his legacy, as well as his championship wins and numerous awards but the true honour of his memory will always rest with the type of man he was. Determined, kind, motivated and most of all, an all-time great.
His daughter, Gianna, was a rising hopeful basketball star who keenly sought out to continue on in Kobe’s basketball legacy. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Kobe talks proudly about Gianna’s proclamation that she’s “got this” when referencing the maintenance of his legacy through his kids. They routinely attended basketball games together and the love they shared in both the game and in their personal lives is something to be treasured and remembered. A young talent taken far too soon.
Yesterday, numerous NBA teams took 24 and 8 second penalties to honour the numbers worn by Bryant during his time at the Lakers. Tributes have continued to pour out for the legendary man and many teams have taken it upon themselves to retire the number 24 forever. Touching and deserving tributes for a man who is so loved and will be missed desperately.
Rest in peace Kobe and Gianna Bryant as well as all those who lost their lives in that helicopter.