Mamba Mentality

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Kobe Bryant's life was cut tragically short, but the impact of his life remains.

Margo Eugenio, ENN Staff

January 26, 2020. The whole world seemingly grinded to a halt when news broke that NBA legend, Kobe Bryant, alongside eight other passengers, including his daughter, Gianna Bryant,  died in a helicopter accident. Bryant’s helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain that the pilot was attempting to scale to get clear of clouds and fog near Calabasas. Once the news broke, dedications and memories of the basketball star flooded social media outlets. From celebrities to nonentities, critics to fans, people fled to their social media platforms to pay their respects. Bryant’s legacy will not soon be forgotten, however. He holds several records within the NBA, including holding the record for being the youngest player to ever start in an NBA game. At 19 years old, he is also the youngest player to ever feature in an All-Star game. Additionally, he has scored more points, more free-throws, and made more turnovers than any other guard in history. But perhaps his most accomplishing achievement during his lifetime would be becoming a father to 4 daughters. It’s safe to say that his legacy reaches far beyond the court. 

The afternoon of January 26, 2020 was a devastating one. News had broken of Bryant’s passing and people were shocked and heartbroken. Not soon will people forget where they were when the news broke. Junior, Sarah Cole, was driving in the car with her family when she found out. 

“When I found out that he died, I was actually driving with my family. We were coming back from church when I was scrolling through social media and saw the various dedications and respects being paid to Kobe Bryant. I told my family, and we were all shocked. I didn’t think it was true, I could not believe it. I don’t think it’ll fully settle for quite some time and I don’t think I will ever forget where I was when I found out,” said Cole. 

On the court, Bryant played with strength and determination. He possessed a certain level of skill and talent that many of his opponents struggled to contain. His way of playing on the court eventually became known as the “Mamba Mentality.” The frame of mind reaches far beyond the basketball court, though. Mamba Mentality is focusing on the process and trusting that the hard work will, eventually, pay off. In an interview with Amazon Book Review, Bryant stated that it is the “ultimate mantra for the competitive spirit.” His popular mindset was embraced by all, including senior, Melanie Perez. 

“Kobe Bryant is a real legend and his way of playing and living life shaped me. His determination and persistence on the court inspired me, and still does, to do my best in all aspects of my life. His desire and motivation to win encourages me to give whatever I am doing 100 percent,” Perez stated. 

Bryant’s outlook on the game isn’t the only thing inspirational about him. For Owen Wyatt, freshman, Bryant taught him how to be an overall, well-rounded person. Bryant showed him that is more to life than championships and record-making. 

“One thing Kobe Bryant taught me is that there is more to life than a game. Bryant is probably one of, if not, the best athletes of our generation and when we finally retired from the game, it showed me that while championship rings and trophies are great, there is more to life than that. He walked away, partly, so that he could give all of his effort and energy into his family, and I respect that and I really took that to heart. He showed me that it’s important to be an all-around kind of guy,” Wyatt said. 

Kobe Bryant was an inspiration and a legacy. His mentality for life encouraged generations of people. Bryant was never one to crumple under pressure. 

“Everything negative such as pressure and challenges are all an opportunity for me to rise,” Bryant stated. While he passed away at the age of 41, he continues to live on through his impact and inspiration he created for a world of people.