Remembering Kobe Bryant

The NBA Legend Died Sunday At 41

January 27, 2020
Kobe_Bryant

Kevork Djansezian / Staff

There was nothing cooler than the Lakers when I was coming in to sports consciousness. Sadly, I barely remember the 90s Cowboys Super Bowl teams. The Mavs & Rangers were historically awful franchises at the SAME TIME. Yeah, the Stars were great but let’s be honest Texas kids, we didn’t know much hockey outside of Mighty Ducks. The sport had just come to town.

From about ages 8-14, everything in my stratosphere was about searching for “cool.” LA was cool. My cool Uncle lived in LA. Shaq was cool and he chose to move there. Kobe was cool. Then something happened. A “cool” billionaire bought my team. He built a young and exciting team that built me up, broke my heart and then built me up again for over a decade.

Around this time Kobe did some “uncool” things. Not the least of which was constantly winning in the most clutch moments when my team and my superstar couldn’t seem to. My admiration turned to “sports hate” and eventually respect. To see it all culminate in the 2011 playoffs was surreal.

My team didn’t beat the Lakers. We certainly didn’t sweep them en route to a title while they were in pursuit of a “three-peat.” But it did happen. It was stunning. All the while, even up 3-0, I still expected the Lakers to come back and win. That’s what winners do.

Kobe’s talent was undeniable, but his work ethic and drive were the real prize characteristics. That feeling...when you know you’re willing to work harder than everyone else to get the job done, even if it means losing other things that are important to you. Not many people in this world know that feeling.

I don’t know if Kobe was a good guy. He sure seemed like he loved his kids. All I know is that in my lifetime watching basketball (and I’ve spent a lot of it watching the NBA-probably too much) there was not a bigger badass on the court, as much as it pained me to know it sometimes. This is an epically sad day and an historic one.

-JT