Today, I welcome everybody to a special, yet sad edition of Bango’s Minute. I want to try to keep things concise, so here we go.
#24ever – The Legacy of a Legend
As I grew up, I lived in an environment where nobody watched the NBA. It was always just the NFL, and MLB. However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve become a big NBA fan, especially in recent years. As I look back, I am upset that I missed the primes of certain players such as Vince Carter, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony. But one player I’m more upset that I never got to witness grow into a superstar than any other, Kobe Bryant. The Black Mamba. A kid from high school, that took the world by storm. Just look at his career accolades; 18x All-Star, 11x First-Team All-NBA, NBA MVP, 2x Finals MVP, 5x Champion, Second All-Time Points in a Regular Season Game (81), and 60 points in the final game of his career. And that’s not even mentioning the things he did off the court, like being a father and a husband, an Oscar winner, and a man that brought the game of basketball to the next generation. Enough said? I think so.
Earlier yesterday, I sat down, ready to watch the NFL Pro Bowl. Then, I got the news regarding what had happened in Calabasas, California, earlier that morning. ABC broke into the broadcast. When I heard what happened, the expression on my face went away. I froze, I was in total shock. I couldn’t say that Kobe Bryant was gone. I, like many others looked at his Instagram and Twitter pages. Just last night, I said, Kobe was active on social media, as he watched himself get passed on the all-time scoring list. Then, more news kept coming in. Gigi, Kobe’s daughter, had passed away, too, along with seven others on that foggy morning.
Whenever I saw others creating their “GOAT” list, Kobe was never recognized as the generation-defining superstar that I believed him to be. But now that he’s gone, and we look back on what he did, maybe we will all start to see the impact that he had not just on the court, but off of the court. I felt so sad watching interviews of Jay Williams, Jerry West, and Tracy McGrady. It was evident that they had lost a friend. But it wasn’t just them… it was the basketball world. Players struggled to play yesterday. But they played for Kobe. Devin Booker and Trae Young each took 24 shots in the games they were playing yesterday, and they combined to score 81 points. Coincidence? Probably. Regardless, that’s crazy! Then, came the tributes at the start of the games. 10 teams took shot clock violations to start the games yesterday. Why? They took those 24 seconds (Kobe’s Number) to honor a legend. 4 other teams took backcourt violations. 8 seconds. Another way for them to pay tribute to Kobe. I saw today that a US school all threw balls of paper in a trash can, yelling KOBE at 8:24 AM. The vigils at the plaza outside the Staples Center grew as the day wore on. Neymar, PSG Star, put up a 2 and a 4 for the cameras after scoring a goal yesterday, just after the news came in. The world was, and will be for a long time, in mourning over the death of an NBA legend.
To leave you off, I want to give you an inspirational quote by Kobe. “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. No matter what the injury — unless it’s completely debilitating — I’m going to be the same player I’ve always been. I’ll figure it out. I’ll make some tweaks, some changes, but I’m still coming.” Your legacy will live on forever, Kobe. Mamba… Out.