In Memoriam: Kobe Bryant

Picture by: Keith Allison (CC BY-SA 2.0).

By: Max Liebel

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – I’ll never forget the day I started really watching basketball. I understood the rules and how to play but it never really interested me until I was introduced properly to it. I was nine years old and my childhood friend, a diehard Lakers fan, came running into my house to tell me to turn on ESPN and I had to see something.

There it was, my proper introduction, a replay of Kobe Bryant’s 81 point performance from two days earlier. I sat in my living room, mesmerized watching the point tracker in the top right corner climb quarter after quarter. By the end of the replay, I didn’t know if I was a Laker fan, but I was definitely a Kobe Bryant fan.

I had the jerseys, wouldn’t use anyone else on NBA 2k, and you couldn’t tell me there was any player better in the history of the NBA.

On Jan. 26 Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven other victims lost their lives In a helicopter crash on their way to Gianna Bryant’s travel basketball game.

After his death, many were quick to bring up his greatness on the court and the impact he had on the game. How couldn’t you, five NBA championships, 18 All-Star nods, an MVP and a whole generation of basketball players inspired by him. Those who knew him best, knew that his greatest achievement was being the father to his four girls – doing his most important work off the court. 

I could sit here and write about what Kobe Bryant meant to the game of basketball, but unless you’ve been living under a rock, theres a good chance you’ve heard those things over this past week. Kobe Bryant was a father, a son, and an inspiration to millions.

Theres an old saying that someone’s life can be judged by how many empty seats are left at a funeral, that you’re judged by how many peoples lives you’ve positively impacted. If that is in fact the case, it’s only fitting that Kobe and Gianna Bryant would sell out the Staples Center.


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