Kobe Bryant: The Mamba Mentality Lives On

Dylan McCabe, Editor

The recent and unexpected passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant has broken the
hearts of millions. On January 26, his helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California, killing Kobe
Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others on board. The magnitude of the impact this horrific
tragedy has had on everyone is overwhelming. Friends, family, the entire NBA community and
countless others remain in a state of shock and grief because of it.
Despite the melancholic nature of his death, Kobe Bryant’s legacy is immortal. Kobe was one of
the greatest basketball players to walk the earth, yet he was so much more than that. He
embodied the phrase “more than an athlete.” He was a father, husband, Oscar award-winning
producer, hero, mentor, brother and so much more. His inspiring, determined and awe-inspiring
will has been instilled in all of us, and to honor his legacy we must make sure to carry the torch,
no matter our craft.
Kobe Bryant came into the NBA surrounded by fierce competition including players such as
Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, and of course, Michael Jordan. The first thing Michael
Jordan told to Kobe Bryant, who grew up trying to emulate Jordan’s game, was that he would
never be able to fill his shoes because he wasn’t good enough.
This insult lit a fire under him and marked the emergence of the “mamba mentality”. He wanted
to be better than his very own idol and prove him wrong in the process.
After that moment, it was only a matter of time before Kobe’s incredible work ethic and drive to
prove his doubters wrong catapulted him into stardom. He trash-talked and sparred with some of
the greatest to ever play the game, even if it was his own teammates. Shaq, Ray Allen, Allen
Iverson, Paul Pierce, and countless others were all subjected to Kobe’s trash talk, which were
backed up by his accolades. Kobe is a five-time NBA champion, 18-time All Star, two-time
Finals MVP, and was the MVP in 2008. This only scratches the surface of his many awards he
earned while in the NBA. Kobe once dropped 81 points in a game, shot a game-tying free
throws with a torn Achilles and dropped 60 points in his final game at the age of 38. All these
amazing feats were made possible by his killer instinct and desire to be great. His drive,
demeanor and legacy are how he is defined as an NBA player.
It would be a lie to say that Kobe didn’t have a few bumps in the road along the way to stardom.
In 2003, Kobe was accused of a sexual assault. It wasn’t proven or confirmed. Regardless, Kobe
Bryant still apologized for his actions and took major steps to empower women. He became a
major advocate of the WNBA, which was new at the time, and praised other female athletes who
excelled in their sport. After his NBA career was finished, he coached his daughter’s basketball
team—a testament to his remarkable dedication as a father. Kobe Bryant corrected his mistakes
and redeemed himself entirely, becoming a leading advocate for female athletes in general. This

speaks volumes to his admirable concern off the court and both his generosity and care for

Kobe Bryant was a great basketball player, and an even better man. His incredible talent
and amazing generosity off the court encapsulate the true, honest, hard-working man Bryant was.
The NBA will honor his memory, but it is even more important that we do not let our memory of
him die out. The Mamba Mentality lives in all of us. Honor it by going the extra mile in your
life, regardless of what it is you’re doing. It’s what he would’ve done. Also, it may be cliché, but
maybe every so often when you throw anything into a trashcan, yell the trademark phrase we
have all come to know and say time and time again: ‘Kobe!’