TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – There isn’t enough time in a sportscast to fully capture Kobe Bryant’s on-court feats and not enough time in the day to measure the impact he’s had worldwide on basketball fans and beyond.
Kobe wasn’t perfect, far from it, but he inspired so many as if he was more than a mortal until that feeling met a sickening reality earlier today.
Bryant was the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA draft, famously traded on draft night to the Lakers from the Hornets, he was an all-star by his second season and turned heads with every fadeaway jumper and acrobatic slam he pulled off.
He and Shaq teamed up to bring Los Angeles their first championship since the late 80s in 2000.
They’d get the next two as well, a three-peat.
Seven seasons and an NBA MVP later, Bryant and the Lakers were champions again, two straight this time, with the mamba winning both finals MVP.
After 20 seasons in the league, all with the Lakers, he called it a career, but not before dropping 60 on his way out.
Life after basketball was maybe more impressive than his game. A mentor to players everywhere, but a personal one to the next generation of NBA stars, he was a businessman and entrepreneur, an academy award winning filmmaker for his short “Dear Basketball”, and, most importantly, a loving husband and proud father.
It’s what makes this even more devastating, his 13-year old Gianna, who was blossoming into a basketball star in her own right, gone in the crash as well. it takes heartbreak to another level.
His final message to the public came via a tweet, congratulating LeBron James on passing his carer scoring mark, and advocating as he so often did to grow the game.
Thank you, Mamba, it won’t be the same without you.
Sully Engels gave his thoughts on what Kobe meant to him after the story.