On January 26, the world of sports lost one of its most influential and revered players, as it was announced that basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among nine killed in a helicopter crash that Sunday. Bryant and his daughter were traveling to a youth basketball tournament when the helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California. Bryant was 41 and Gianna was 13.
Bryant’s death left his fans, his former teammates and coaches in the NBA, and the entire world in shock and grief. Byrant was known for being an absolute force on the basketball court and taking the NBA and the game of basketball to new heights. Bryant was one of the best scorers the NBA has ever seen, averaging a remarkable 25 points per game over his long and dominant 20 year career. Bryant is fourth on the NBA all-time scoring list, ahead of the great Michael Jordan, but was surpassed by LeBron James the night before his death.
Bryant was nearly unstoppable on the court due to his sheer great talent, but also to his insurmountable work ethic. Bryant was known to practice and work harder than anyone else, astonishing his teammates with the time he dedicated to perfecting his craft. Bryant’s success on and off the court is truly a sentiment to the value of hard work. Byrant’s dedication and work ethic are not only inspirational to young basketball players around the world but can be applied by people in all professions. His hard work allowed him to transform himself into the “Black Mamba,” the nickname Bryant gave himself after the deadly snake. Bryant formed “mamba mentality,” a state of mind with the constant will to be the best, to be unstoppable. Bryant’s dedication to the sport is why he will not only be remembered as one of the greatest players in NBA history, but as inspiration in and out of the sports world.
Byrant’s death was crushing all over the globe, including in the Georgetown Day community. “At first I didn’t believe it,” sophomore Ethan Cohen said. “I was freaking out. My heart dropped… I wasn’t even emotional; I was just in shock.”
When asked about how Bryant’s legacy should be and will be remembered, Cohen quickly brought up Bryant’s immense talent on the court, but upon further contemplation, Cohen concluded that he would be remembered as an inspiration and a mentor: “Mamba mentality…. His work ethic. It was such a big part of his game and his lifestyle. He was always pushing more and working harder than everyone else. And he was a mentor to so many people because of that.”
Above all, Cohen admired Bryant’s fearlessness. “He would never back down from a situation or a big moment. He would tell himself that he could do anything.” Cohen then elaborated to say that Bryant’s mindset to perfect his craft could be applied to anything one sets one’s mind to.
Sophomore Ken Bailey described his reaction to the news of Bryant’s passing as heartbroken. Bailey shared many of Cohen’s remarks regarding Bryant’s work ethic: “What he’s most well known for is his hard work, his work ethic, his hustle. It’s really inspiring to see that because he is one of the greatest players of all-time.”
Bailey said that he and people around the world should be inspired to work their hardest, in light of Bryant’s passing, in order to fill the legend’s shoes. When asked how he believes Bryant’s legacy will live on, Bailey immediately began to talk about Bryant’s 2003 rape allegations, a very rare topic of discussion following Bryant’s death. Although Bailey was quick to remind us and condemn Bryant for this alleged terrible act, he concluded that the rape allegations would not alter the trajectory of his legacy.
“He wasn’t perfect. He was human. That’s a big mistake but the culture in America around athletics is so intense that some people are thrown into it so early that they’re not really ready for life,” Bailey said. “I think it’s[Bryant’s legacy] going to be a positive one. Since 2003, I feel like he’s more than redeemed himself by playing and being such a big figure off the court.”
Kobe Bryant will unquestionably be remembered throughout the GDS community and around the world as one of greatest basketball players to ever live but, more importantly, an inspiration and a mentor.
Shai Dweck ’22