I lost my hero— someone I looked up to since I was a kid. Someone who taught me that hardwork trumps talent because if you want to be great in a particular area, you have to obsess over it. Someone who cultivated the whole Mamba Mentality philosophy— the mantra that I’ve adopted into my daily grind.
Kobe had no fucking idea I even existed but he changed my life in more ways than one could do.
No one in this world knows what he means to me. Not saying he didn’t influence so many, because he sure as hell did, but he was special to me in a way I don’t think anyone else could ever understand.
Whenever I feel like slacking off, soft.gif runs through my head. Whenever I feel like this is all I can, 81-point game comes to mind. Whenever I feel like I’m too young for something, “fresh-out-of-HS” Kobe is in effect. Whenever I feel like giving up, two free throws with an Achilles’ tendon tear flashes back.
Kobe was my ultimate life coach.
Never have I imagined that he will die. The fact that it was hard for me to process his retirement says a lot. I always thought that he’ll be like Bill Russell who will grow old literally. He’d be attending many Hall of Fame ceremonies and shaking hands with other legends. But it’s not happening anymore. He won’t even be there to deliver his HOF speech.
I’ve loved basketball since I was a kid. I’ve felt many feelings while watching it. When the Lakers lose, I lose my shit. When the Lakers win, I celebrate like I’m part of the team. As a 31-year-old, Lakers fan, Kobe has been the biggest part of that exclusive “Lakers only” experience. It’s one of a kind.
My hero is gone but his legacy lives through all those who were inspired by his relentless dedication to excellence. That’s me— and a million others who are still mourning the loss but moving forward because that’s what he will do.