Tragic Loss of a Legend – Kobe Bryant the Creator of an Epoch

There are many accolades one can praise Kobe Bryant with, but what he left to the sport and the community surpasses all of his accomplishments on the court. Nevertheless, Bryant was one of those minority athletes who entered the NBA straight from high school. From the time he entered the League at the age of eighteen, the honors have constantly piled up as he started to make his mark on the league.

By the end of his career in 2016, Bryant has managed to become a champion 5 times with LA Lakers whom he spent 20 seasons with. He has been named 2007 Most Valuable Player (MVP) as well as 2-time Finals MVP. Alongside his accomplishments in the NBA, Bryant has sought 2 Olympic gold medals for the United States. 

To set aside his statistics as a basketball player, which there is a lot to converse on, Kobe’s work ethic and competitive spirit will undyingly be looked upon, and not only by aspiring athletes. His grip on the game and on the players, which resonates in his accomplishments, dubbed him the nickname Black Mamba. Likewise, his aggressive drive and bloodthirsty attitude will be known as the Mamba Mentality. He was one of those ‘universal’ players, he could play any position and was exceptionally ‘clutch’ with the ball, meaning that in devastating times for the team, the players knew they had to give the ball to Kobe. His buzzer-beaters and his defensive titan boldness will forever be remembered. Kobe Bryant’s tragic death, together with his daughter Gianna, is not only a blow to the sports world, but to the whole world. A world in which there are a few places where Kobe Bryant’s name hasn’t been heard. As an author of this article and a lover of basketball, I have had the satisfaction and the pleasure of seeing this man play in the Lakers home arena of Staples Center, where Kobe ascertained once more that he is indisputably a true master of his craft. Rest in peace legend. #MambaOut.

Tributes have been pouring in for the loss of the NBA giant. Basketball icon Michael Jordan paid homage to fellow NBA great Kobe Bryant, hours after reports that the former Los Angeles Laker had died, along with his daughter, Gianna in a helicopter crash.

“I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing,” Jordan opened in the statement. “Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling. I loved Kobe – he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much. He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply – and took great pride in his daughter’s love for the game of basketball.” Wrote Jordan.

Shaquille O’Neal wrote a heart-wrenching tribute to his longtime teammate. “There are no words to express the pain I’m going through with this tragedy of losing my niece Gigi & my brother @kobebryant,” wrote O’Neal, referring to Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna. “I love u and u will be missed.”

O’Neal and Bryant participated together in the purple-and-gold from 1996 throughout 2004, founding one of the most intimidating duos in the history of the NBA. Together, they have led the Lakers to successive league championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002. “My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board, IM SICK RIGHT NOW” Shaq tweeted.

Former Georgian NBA player and a champion Zaza Pachulia shared his condolences to the passing of Bryant. “Too early. Too sad. Too many broken hearts. Too many tears. Thanks for too many memories,” Pachulia wrote on Instagram.

By Beka Alexishvili

27 January 2020 14:55