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  • Glassford Crossfield

What Kobe Bryant Meant to Me

This is such a tough post for me to write, it’s crazy how I didn’t realize how big of an impact he had on my life and others until he died. I was always a big Kobe fan, I defended him whenever I got the chance. Even still I couldn’t have ever predicted that his death would have this large of an impact on me.

I realize that Kobe Bryant is exactly the man that I want to become one day, and it’s truly sad that it took his death for me to realize this.I have to address something first. Without a question Kobe came with his flaws. He was accused of sexual assault in 2003. The charges were dropped and the issue was settled outside of court. He admitted that he cheated on his wife, but denied the assault allegations.

Personally I don’t think he assaulted anyone, I may be biased but that’s how I feel. Not to minimize what the alleged victim went through but that’s my opinion.I don’t think that these allegations should represent Kobe amidst his passing. For the people that want to bring it up, they had ample time to do so when he was alive.

Most people are doing this to tarnish the name of Kobe, they aren’t doing it for people to remember the alleged victim. Most people don’t even know how she looks or remember her first name.If you’re doing it because the accusations truly affected you that’s different, but if you’re doing it as a way to gain attention, or sprinkle some negativity on his passing… you’re corny and lame. If Kobe Bryant hadn’t passed would these people be mentioning the case?

This leads me to believe that their intentions are disingenuous.Kobe Bryant impacted my life for the greater and in this blog post I will strictly focus on the great many positives that he had on others.When I say he’s the exact man that I want to become one day, it means that I want to be the role model that he was to me, for other people.

The way he approached life and set an example for others is what I aspire to duplicate one day. People imitating my habits to better their lives, and me spreading the formula to success to a mass amount of people are goals that I have for myself. Kobe was precisely the person to look up to for this.Being young I didn’t quite get into what Kobe meant to me as the bigger picture. Not many 11 year old's care about work ethic.

Growing up you just see him as this great basketball player, you’re not really looking into his work ethic, or certain things that might be going on off the court, you’re just looking at the finished product of a basketball game.When I really got into basketball I was in middle school, so from the ages of about 11 to 13 I was a big Lakers fan. I was a Lakers fan prior, but more so a casual one, I didn’t really get into the sport until middle school.

Thank God around the time where I was really getting into basketball the Lakers were really good, throughout my middle school life the Lakers were in 3 straight championship appearances.By the time I got to high school I was a die hard fan.

I remember countless hours of arguing with people on the Kobe vs. LeBron debate, arguing who’s better. Always bringing up the fact that Kobe has 5 championships and LeBron at that point didn’t have any my first year in high school. Looking back at those arguments now, they truly meant the world to me, a man that I have never met that I was truly going all out for.

Little did I know that he was instilling so much passion in me that I would later find in myself on the court and in my writing. In high school when I made the basketball team my passion for basketball increased dramatically.At this point basketball consumed my life. I started watching Hardwood Classics, I started watching a lot more basketball highlights, old and new, every Superstars top 10 dunks.

I started watching basketball documentaries, I was just a sponge to all this new found basketball information.Everybody always said Kobe needed Shaq. I always said Shaq also needed Kobe. I constantly mentioned that Shaq has less Finals appearances, and that Kobe has 2 rings without Shaq.

I was a literal Fanboy of Kobe and I never thought that his death would hit me this hard.The level of intensity and passion that he played with every single possession was truly something to marvel at. His mamba mentality can be applied to anything in life.My basketball coach always said, “yes I’m here to teach you basketball, but I’m also here to teach you how to become a man,” and that the ethics of basketball can be used in everyday life.

As a 14–15 year-old kid some of these messages may not have resonated with me at that time. As I got older I realized that his work ethic was unmatched and that to achieve anything that you want in life, any dream that you have in life, that your work ethic has to be the foundation. The messages of Kobe’s life didn’t really hit home until I got older.

The way he was so analytical about every single detail on the court, and the way he did everything he possibly could to be the greatest basketball player of all time is so awe inspiring. He made sure he was eating right, he made sure he was sleeping right, he made sure he was exercising, he made sure that he was doing the proper drills, sometimes working out three to four times a day.

Right after winning a championship, a week or two later he was right back in the gym, he just had a constant thirst for greatness. After winning 3 straight championships you would figure that one would become satisfied, but all he wanted to do was to win more.

This is something that I value very much in my life. My motivation unfortunately lacks at times, it comes and goes, it ebbs and flows, and it’s at a different level almost every day. Seeing someone at the top of their game still push to be the best gives me absolutely no excuse to strive for greatness in every aspect in my life.

With his mamba mentally, he was a great model of consistency, persistence, and hard work that can get you anywhere you want. I have a tendency to envy people with a strong work ethic because often times I feel as though I’m not going hard enough.

People that are willing to put in those sleepless nights to achieve their goals, people that know that they don’t want to do it but still end up doing it anyway. These are people that are normally in a position that I plan to be in one day.

There have been plenty of times in my life where I have said I’m not up for it, or I’m too tired, and I’ll just take a nap, or I’ll just do something else to distract me from achieving my goal. Kobe taught me that you can’t just want to be the best you can be, you have to have an overwhelming passion to be the best possible you.

Not only did he take his mamba mentality to the court, but he also did it off the court. He also was bringing his mamba mentality into his personal life. He always embellished every opportunity to hang with his daughters and wife because he knew that he would be away from home a ton, and that would limit his time with them.

He has admitted that after an intense workout his daughters would ask him to go swimming or to do another activity, and regardless of how tired he was he would always get up and do it because he realized that it wouldn’t be fair to them. He felt as though his children wouldn’t understand that their father is a world class athlete and he had to do certain things to maintain his greatness. It isn’t fair to them that they get a part time father because he chooses to be great at his profession.He was becoming such a notably great father, he was training his daughter to have a mamba mentality, he was the coach of her team and he was training them with a similarly rigorous schedule to that of his own.

You saw his mamba mentality with the way he went about his parenting, you saw that he wanted to be the best possible father that he could be.I always find it hard for people that work strenuously at their job during the day and tirelessly at their job as a parent at night.

The people that leave their full time job to go home to another full time job are the people to be marveled at. It looked as though Kobe was pulling it off. Especially once he retired he was devoting so much time to his kids and his wife, you saw how happy he was, and you saw how involved he wanted to be with his kids. That’s something that I truly aspire to be, because I have big dreams, but I also want a big family one day. I never want to see any of my kids feel neglected because I am too heavily involved with my work.I understand that the bigger your dreams the harder you have to work.

Some parents at times without realizing may choose to prioritize work over their family to keep that sustained success in their career field. Kobe made us realize that we don’t have to choose.He always made his daughters feel like a very important part of his life, and he never let anything in the basketball category decline due to his family obligations, or vice versa.

It was great to see a man solely dedicated to his craft while being an adamant father figure in his children’s lives. It was great to see that Gianna Bryant was taking a liking to basketball and you can see the similarities in their games. We saw Kobe showing her some things at Staples Center on the sidelines breaking down the game to her, and her understanding what he’s talking about, it was great to see.

I wasn’t that concerned when Kobe retired because I knew he would never be that far from basketball. I knew that his love of the sport was so large that he would still be around the game, knowing this put my mind of ease.

Lo and behold when he retired you saw him consistently at Staple Center. He created a series on ESPN plus called “Detail,” we saw his hand prints all over basketball in many different facets. Things like this helped me cope with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to see my favorite player play any more. I was no longer able to see him play but I was always a few clicks away from hearing his thoughts or seeing him at a game.

It’s a shame because I just knew he had so much more to give. He wanted to change how a basketball player was viewed. He wanted to do so many things,he wanted to help players realize that there’s more to life than just basketball.

He is the only basketball player to win an Oscar. He wanted player’s to realize that life isn’t over once you retire, and that a basketball player can mean so much more to the world than just a person who dribbles the ball.He was making waves in the creative industry for an athlete. He didn’t want to do the typical media thing by sitting behind a desk like a lot of retired players did. He wanted to do things outside the box. He wanted to create a different lane for athletes to express themselves and not just in the prototypical way.

People often asked me what my biggest goal in life is and I say that is to be impactful and influential. I know I have the skillset and personality to leave a large influence and impact on people.I feel like a human life is so unique and so precious that we were put here on Earth to do far more than to just go to school for 20 years, then work for 40 years and then die. There has to be so much more to life than that and I feel like I can leave a substantial impact on Earth.

I feel like everybody should strive to leave some sort of impact. I would hate to live a life where I look back when I am 50 or 60 years old and I say “wow I really lived an average life.” Everybody on the face of Earth has a unique gift and we should do our best to put our talents out there because we are doing the Earth a disservice if we don’t. This way of thinking without me realizing started from the mamba mentality.

Kobe’s death impacted millions across the globe and the way he approached life had a massive impact on millions.It was crazy to see how the world stopped once Kobe Bryant’s death was announced, his tragic death was something that I assumed would affect the die hard fans or maybe just the NBA as a whole. I had no idea that the world would come together and mourn for him and his family.

Skip Bayless’ wife called Skip to tell him the news, and she couldn’t even muster the words to inform him because of her immense sobbing. LaLa Anthony called Carmelo Anthony crying, and these are people that I don’t believe were all that close to Kobe. Former players that were Kobe’s rivals even wept. This is an example of the level of impact and influence that I aspire to reach one day. If your rivals’ come together and weep, you know you’re impactful.

The fact that I’m a kid born and raised in New York and grew up a Lakers fan shows how iconic he was. This kid from New York shedding tears for a man that he never met or ever seen him play live… that’s the level of impact and influence that I aspire to have one day on others.

So many other people felt his death, and not just in the U.S. but throughout the world. Kobe put a full effort towards every single category in his life, and that is something that we can all take note of no matter what situation we are in.You can have a mamba mentality, it’s a mentality that goes for any and all people regardless of race, religion, orientation, or socioeconomic status, it works for everybody. If we had a tenth of the work ethic that Kobe Bryant had, there is no goal that cannot be achieved.

Seeing people around the globe mourning in unison over a man that shoots 3-pointers, truly shows me that he was much bigger than basketball. Part of being impactful is creating something that lasts for generations long after your death, which is exactly what Kobe did.Every time I think I get a step closer to getting over Kobe’s death, I then realize that his 13 year old daughter died alongside him. This part makes this tragedy that much harder to deal with.

I cannot imagine the phone calls that Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa Bryant received letting her know that her husband and her child were no longer here. I can’t imagine how his 3 daughters felt knowing that their father and sister are forever gone. I can’t imagine the pain that his youngest daughter will have to endure growing up without a father, as she is just a few months old.

I just can’t imagine as the helicopter is rapidly descending towards gravel, and the conversation that Kobe had with Gianna in those waning moments. I simply couldn’t imagine being directly affected by this tragedy. Seeing how Kobe’s life affected me so much and I’ve never met him, one wouldn’t be able to fathom what the Bryant family was going through.

Seeing Gianna emulate her father’s so well on the basketball court, knowing how good she was going to become, knowing that she was ready and willing to walk in the footsteps of her father including his work ethic makes this so much harder.

I don’t think anybody should die like that, yet alone a 13 year old. It hurts even more knowing the reason why Kobe was taking the helicopters. He was taking the helicopters to help him spend more time with his family. He would sometimes get caught in that L.A. traffic and ended up missing some valuable father-daughter moments. Taking a helicopter was a lot faster, and he cherished every extra minute that he shared with his family.Those helicopter rides were bonding moments for Kobe.

It hurts that we will never see Kobe courtside at a Lakers game again, or that we won’t ever hear his illustrious Hall of Fame Speech. This man was filled with so much wisdom and he wasn’t done sharing his wisdom with the rest of the world.

There’s no possible way that anyone can avoid death, but there are some things that you can do to help try to prolong your life. All of which I’m sure Kobe was doing. You know that Kobe Bryant was eating right, you know he wasn’t in any crime-related activity, you know he was exercising, you know he was doing everything to keep his mind in order, you know he was doing everything to be the healthiest he possibly could be.

All this plus the fact that money wasn’t an issue and even still he died early. To think that a man that virtually had every single thing that most men are looking for, and yet even he is still susceptible to pass this early in life is inconcievable,I will soon be 24 this year with God’s will.

Death is not something that I frequently think about, and here is this young girl about half my age with a bright future gone forever. I’m sure she hadn’t even begun to think about the idea of death.I’m not going to lie that whole entire week after I found out the news I just wasn’t myself. I just couldn’t picture a world where Kobe Bryant doesn’t live a long life. I just couldn’t picture a world where he doesn’t own a basketball team sitting on the sidelines, still running his camps for his daughter’s basketball team, still heavily involved with the WNBA, and community outreach for the NBA.

I just can’t imagine a world where there’s not a 75 year old Kobe Bryant sitting on the sidelines still teaching the young players how to play. That’s what we all knew what was going to happen because that’s how much he loved this game.Some people couldn’t believe it was true because it’s Kobe freaking Bryant, he’s bulletproof. He’s going to die from old age in his sleep, he’s Kobe Bryant that’s his only option of death. He’s taken that same helicopter a million times, he doesn’t die like this… he can’t.

People still believed that even after the crash that he was still going to rise out of the ashes, him not being alive just didn’t seem real.Kobe Bryant was far more than just a basketball player, one might say iconic, but even that doesn’t give him his due justice.

The mamba mentality is something that any and all people can take to any aspect of life and that’s what made him so great. That’s what made him so relatable. That’s why he was so much bigger than just a basketball player because you saw the fruits of his labor and knew that you too could follow in his footsteps in your own way.We saw the way that he approached life, that undying hunger and passion to be the best, even after he reached the top. Anybody from any background no matter what they are going through can take notice of his values. We all knew that he was going to bring that same passion, focus, and desire into his next chapter in life and it just sucks to see that he’s no longer here with us.

Another thing that made Kobe’s death so hard to deal with was the fact that it was unexpected. The world didn’t mourn this much when Muhammad Ali passed away because we all kind of saw that his body was deteriorating and his days were numbered.Kobe Bryant on the other hand we knew he was doing everything possible to live his healthiest life, so we just assumed that he was going to live forever, and unfortunately that wasn’t the case. He made that same helicopter trip a billion times and never had the idea of death enter his mind once.

Kobe Bryant meant the world to me, it’s sad that it took his death for me to realize it but he did. He is the exact man that I strive to be one day, I want to reach his level of impact and influence on a great number of people. I want every single aspect of my life to not necessarily be perfect but for me to give my full effort in every single category knowing that I did the best that I possibly could in every way, in everything imaginable.

I think we should all strive to be Kobe Bryant in our own way. Have that mamba mentality in every book that you study, in every step you take, at your job. It’s what Kobe would have wanted.

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