Remembering Kobe Bryant


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Thousands of fans in the Los Angeles area gathered around Staples Center to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant. Following his untimely death, many NBA teams paid tribute to Bryant in their own ways.

Simrat Singh, Co-Editor-in-Chief

What was supposed to be just a normal routine week quickly transformed into one of the worst weeks of my life.

Kobe Bryant. The man that I had been a fan of for the past 13 years had died? I immediately looked at my two Kobe posters in my room and started shaking. It felt surreal. As I walked down and turned on the TV and began to watch the news reports, I couldn’t help it. Tears began streaming down my face, and I just sat there. 

There was nothing I or anybody else could do but accept that our childhood hero, a Los Angeles icon, had died at the young age of 41 due to a helicopter crash.

There is no easy way to talk about what a person means to you but to explain how someone you have never met has had such a lasting impact on you that you feel sick to your stomach. Coming up on a week and I still find myself crying at least once a day just absolutely devastated and yet unable to look away. 

More so than his national impact, Kobe meant so much to the Orange County community. Seeing so many people whether they were fans of basketball or not commenting about it on social media and at school the next day truly displayed his importance to Southern California. Whether you were a sports fan or not, most people knew him and felt the pain of his loss. 

When I was five years old, I sat with my father watching my first ever basketball game. It was the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Denver Nuggets. I recall exclaiming I was going to root for Denver. 

My dad was quick to explain that Los Angeles was close by, and I should root for the Lakers. He told me that Kobe Bryant was one of the best players ever, and I should watch him go to work. 

I sat there, mesmerized at the vision of Kobe Bryant taking fadeaways, dominating on the offensive end and yet willing to lock back up on defense.

I was invested in everything he did; I spent hours researching him. My bedroom shelf was filled with Kobe-related magazines and books. He meant the world to me. 

While his career ended in 2016, his injury in 2013 represented the end of the Hall of Fame career and a transition into a tougher, more mortal time. It was the first time I was able to see him as a human, not just a legend. 

Kobe was supposed to be the one who beat father time and continued playing into his 40s, yet he was retiring all too early. He did gift us with a stellar 60-point performance in his last game, something that still gives me chills.

When athletes retire, they often leave us mentally. We no longer see them competing or at the center of the media. Yet, Kobe was always in our minds, popping up in the media for his dozens of successful business ventures, then an Oscar nomination and victory and finally returning to basketball due to a push from his 13-year old daughter Gianna.  It hurts to know that he died flying Gigi and seven others to his Mamba Academy to play in a girls’ basketball tournament.

He was a constant inspiration of what it means to put in hard work and motivation as I pursued sports, music and other ventures. Being a shorter kid in stature growing up, I didn’t find myself playing basketball, but the idea of the ‘Mamba Mentality’ didn’t stop me from pushing myself to practice soccer constantly, working on drills after practice, running to make myself the fastest player, not the second fastest. Even though I stopped soccer in fifth grade and ended all athletic pursuits following my freshman year, Kobe’s influence never truly left. 

Even now, I’m struggling to find a conclusion. Because I can never truly encapsulate how much Kobe affected me and how much he meant to a young kid struggling to be confident and carve a place for himself in the world. As I recall all the ways Kobe has defined my life, I will say it is okay to cry; it is okay to remember and think about the hurt in your life and why you feel that pain. But the most important thing is to talk about it, to not let petty things define your relationships, and as a world we must learn to grow. That despite the death of Kobe uniting the world in many regards, it should not take such a massive tragedy to fix the rifts in our life. 

The pain will eventually subside for some of us, but the pain of Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and the others who lost their family in the helicopter crash will be long-lasting. Consider donating to the MambaOnThree to support these families at

Mamba Out <3