Kobe Bryant: The Art of Legacy

I never religiously watched games. I never bought a jersey. I didn’t follow the drama or the highlights, but he still affected me somehow. His mental fortitude, focus, and mindset permeated into my life anyways. I think that’s just a part of who he was.

I forget that he actually lost games, ya know? I can’t remember a specific one, I never was a super fan, but after a quick web search I learned that Kobe Bryant did indeed lose some games. He is synonymous with greatness in sports…not just basketball, but sports — and when you think about Kobe you can’t help but to picture him winning. I don’t know if it was his glare, the unflinching confidence, the highlights themselves, but you knew he was a champion through and through.

I hate that it is in mourning that I am finally able to truly appreciate the man. The player, the artist, the father, the human. Flaws and all. His life is an example of how growth walks hand in hand with struggle and hard work.

Kobe’s career was a roller-coaster of highs and lows on and off the court. He won championships. He feuded with teammates. He broke records. He confessed to sexual assault. He won more games. He was suspended for slurring a referee. He won more championships. He fought injuries. He came back and broke more records. He retired as one of the three greatest players of all time, a father of two daughters (eventually four), a husband to his first love, and one of the hardest workers in history. He can’t be condensed to just the few bullet points above. He is much more nuanced. He can be many things at once and I think it’s okay to mourn that still.

Good people don’t do some of the things that Kobe Bryant did in life. Good people do try to be better though, and Kobe worked at that just as passionately in his life as in basketball. Jemele Hill wrote a beautiful article that exemplifies a small piece of his willingness to challenge others’ views as well as his own and to grow as a person.

It’s a difficult feeling to wrestle with knowing that a good person has done bad things, but I think that’s another facet of this whole life thing…accepting that some people can grow, right? It doesn’t excuse his past or the terrible pain he caused others, but looking for and accepting growth gives room for hope in anyone’s future. Part of his legacy is his growth. He put the work in.

Kobe’s activity during his tenure as a Los Angeles Laker is well documented and can be found easily online. The stats, the records, the on-court feats and the negative activity too. I more admire and mourn the man he was becoming post-NBA. It’s funny to say that a 41 year-old man was just becoming something but you can’t help but feel it’s true with him.

He was always locked in on whatever he was doing. Post-retirement that was family and philanthropy; a side of the “selfish, shoot-first” Kobe we weren’t used to seeing. He seemed to excel at that too. There are stories about him being up at all hours of the night practicing his jump-shot alone…I imagine him up at similar hours, lit by a single lamp, scheduling what activities he was going to do with his daughters that week. You know because Kobe was planning it was going to be the best version.

I’m going to choose to mourn that man. The man we didn’t know well enough. Mourn the man who did bad things but owned them and then tried to grow from them. Mourn the man who was a genius on the court and off. Mourn the tri-lingual ambassador that put a city on his back. Mourn the artist. Mourn the competitor. Mourn the husband and father. Mourn what was and could have been.

I’ve hardly broken the surface on what he has done and could have done. I didn’t know the man and never will so I’m not the person to write much more about it. In the days following his death I hope the stories shared about him don’t shy away from any truths, he was strong enough to take the bad hits…but I also hope that when it is all said and done his success, growth, and potential are what people let shine through in those stories. For some reason that’s just what feels like is deserved. I think if a celebrity death has this big of an affect on so many people like myself it must be for a reason.

In 41 short years Kobe Bryant is leaving a legacy most couldn’t achieve in multiple lifetimes.
He was success, failure, and growth. His tenacity will live on in the thousands of up-and-coming players he inspired. His work ethic will live on in anyone who wants to ever come close to his greatness. His legendary status will live on in the stories and highlights as long as basketball lives on.

#MambaMentality #24Forever #Respect




one sec…i’m trying to figure out if this glass is half full…it is, right? i think…

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Pat Almquist

Pat Almquist

one sec…i’m trying to figure out if this glass is half full…it is, right? i think…

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