Kobe was one of them. Kobe was among them.
Kobe Bryant has been killed along with nine others in a helicopter collision in Calabasas California. Bryant was 41. He leaves behind him an amazing legacy as a untouched NBA player.
Bryant was destined to become a star in the NBA from the moment he joined the league. Under such circumstances, only one player in every eight shows up.
He joined the NBA during the peak of secondary school to masters furor in 1996. He was an NBA phenom, a young Philadelphian who had spent a portion of his childhood abroad and spoke Italian.
He was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers and quickly joined the group of players who were on the rise, led by Shaquille o’Neal. Unexpectedly, one of young basketball’s most popular players was playing in one the country’s largest media markets.
Bryant started out as a secondary player to O’Neal. However, he has the chance to shine in a spotlight of his very own.
Bryant is the most stylish player to watch, even though O’Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive titles. Bryant’s hyper-athletic physique made him the Lakers ‘edge danger. He was the most energetic player in the group that became the NBA’s substance after Michael Jordan retired.
The hierarchy between Bryant, O’Neal and others flipped over time.
Bryant is a popular player because he emulated Michael Jordan. Jordan was widely considered the greatest NBA player of all time.
Both men were 6’6″ tall and athletic. Bryant thought about Jordan’s footwork. Bryant looked at Jordan’s footwork in an early career matchup.
Bryant was able to attack his rivals in multiple ways, just like Jordan. He could easily blow past his opponents and score in the first few months of his career.
After his feetwork and ability to take challenging shots and hit them with intensity became more and more a part of Bryant’s game as he aged and accumulated NBA miles.
Jordan said Bryant can beat him one-on-1 because Bryant has copied the entire set of Jordan’s moves.
NBA Style is important. While all crates are checked the same way, not every shot is made in the same manner. Fans run toward players who can easily score in various ways. Bryant’s ball was hard to turn away, just like Jordan.
Bryant has spent over 20 years as a member of the NBA.
He has won three straight championships with O’Neal’s Lakers. However, perhaps even more significant to his legacy is that he did so without O’Neal.
Bryant spent a lot of time with the Lakers after O’Neal. The Lakers failed to win the NBA title, with a winning record of just 40 games per season from 2004-05 through 2006-07. Bryant was a champ, with an average of 31.5 points, 5.6 rebound, and 5.3 assists per game in that time span, and established himself as a dominant force within the league.
Bryant was criticized for not leading his Lakers team to greatness without any help. Bryant was forgiven by fans, players, and experts for not leading a cloth-label Lakers team to a deep season finisher run.
Bryant’s ability to find a top with a good pace was obviously a huge help. After some time, the Lakers restructured and gave Bryant what he needed. Bryant won the MVP award in 2007-08, and led the Lakers into three consecutive Finals in 2008-09 and 2009.
Jordan won six titles. 18 years later, he was named an All-Star for the 17th consecutive year. He was on the All-NBA first team 15 times and an individual of the All-Defensive team 12 times. He is forever etched in the history of his group and holds some NBA records. He did it all with the same group.
Bryant’s era was marked by many different players, each of whom dominated the game and produced impressive resumes. But few have garnered as much fan worship.
Bryant’s ‘Mamba Mentality’ and his ‘Dark Mamba Persona’ were a part of the mass intrigue he created. Bryant adopted the persona after settling out of court a lawsuit over rape allegations in 2005. This was the lowest point in his life.
Bryant’s popularity plummeted and his supporters dropped him after the allegations, but the image of hard work and heartlessness resonated with fans.
Bryant gained a reputation for being a hard worker throughout his career. The NBA was filled with stories of endless early morning or late night meetings to exercise. Bryant also waxed poetic about success, failure and management, creating an image of a man who could not be outworked.
Bryant did this only on rare occasions. He played through a left-give game after he injured his right shoulder.
In 2013, he tore the Achilles ligament and remained in for free throws. He tried to continue playing until the Lakers took him out of the game.
Bryant, like other unimaginable competitors, did not end his career in a spectacular way. After returning from so many wounds, he was a shell and struggled through seasons of high usage, wastefulness, often to the detriment of his team in his final two seasons. In 2014-15, Bryant won 17 games and the Lakers 21 in 2015-16.
Bryant’s final round was a spectacular one, with 60 focuses and 50 shots.
Bryant, as a player, was unmatched, but with his flaws, he still had the talent and the flair to be a great gamer. Why do we yell ‘Kobe?’ when we are shooting?