You don’t have to be a basketball fan or even an L.A. Lakers fan to know the “Black Mamba”— Kobe Bryant. One of the biggest NBA players of all-time and an icon in the sports world, Kobe was not only about the game as he was also known for his incredible work ethics and love for his family.
Sadly today, January 27, it was revealed that Kobe and his daughter, Gianna, had died in a helicopter crash Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 41 and she was 13.
In honor of Kobe’s legacy and immense contribution to the world, here are moments wherein Kobe proved that he is more than an athlete.
He showed us that hard work is what makes champions.\
Kobe is known for his “Mamba Mentality”—constantly trying to be the best version of yourself. In his two-decade career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe had numerous championships, scoring titles, and MVP awards to his name. But his basketball journey wasn’t an easy ride. Kobe started his career as a benchwarmer multiple times when he was in high school. When he played for the NBA, he had multiple injuries but that did not stop him from playing his best games and scoring records. In fact, he made history when he scored 81 points in one game—the most points scored in a game in Lakers history. Respect!
He is all about diversity.
After his Academy Award win for Best Animated Short Film for his project Dear Basketball (a short film based off on his poignant life and experiences), Kobe expressed his feelings about having a greater sense of responsibility. Kobe said in an interview, “Now there’s a greater sense of responsibility. How do I provide more opportunities for even more diverse and new voices to be heard in this industry?” he said. “In the animation business, there’s a serious lack of diversity.”
He advocates for women.
Throughout his career and into his retirement, Kobe advocated for women, especially in sports. He championed women’s basketball by speaking about it and by just being present in every game. His presence drew attention to the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and to all deserving talents. In fact, his late daughter, Gianna, was a player on her school’s basketball team and hoped to one day play for the WNBA. She was said to have been groomed by Kobe himself—with the latter even referring to her as “Mambacita,” a version of his moniker “The Black Mamba.”