Two years later, how has Kobe Bryant’s death impacted basketball and the world?


Photo used with permission from Google Commons

Kobe Bryant was a leader, an inspiration and an icon.

Two years removed from the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, a statue was placed on the crash site. The sculpture of Bryant with his arm around his daughter, both wearing basketball uniforms, depicts not just Bryant as a legend of the game of basketball, but as a wonderful, inspiring father. As the mark of two years since that tragic day passes, it’s time for us to revisit the legacy that Bryant left as a basketball star, and more importantly, as a great man. 

Bryant was always known for his ‘Mamba Mentality,’ which he describes as “to constantly be the best version of yourself” and “focusing on the process and trusting the hard work when it matters most.” Known for this mentality both during and after his time as an NBA star, Bryant always argued that “Hard work outweighs talent — every time.” 

Bryant inspired the world to “be able to constantly try to be the best version of yourself,” whether it’s in sports, in the classroom, or just as a person. If you’re able to be remembered for the things that you did, the positive things that you did, making people feel great about what you did, that’s a pretty cool thing.”  

Senior Ted Otengo has focused on Bryant’s influence on the world of basketball. “I would say Kobe’s death was a very heartbreaking moment for players and fans, because a lot of people grew up watching Kobe, and he was an idol not only in the basketball community, but in other communities as well. The world won’t forget when Kobe won back-to-back championships, and even a three-peat for the Lakers,” Otengo said.

PE Teacher Anthony Pykosh also respected Bryant’s impact on sport, saying, “I followed his career a bit. I know there’s not one particular moment that sticks out to me, because I’m not a big Lakers fan, but whenever I saw him on TV, he also had a great drive to win and compete, and I always respected that. He spent a lot of time in Italy; my memorable moment is when he was being interviewed in LA, and these two guys next to him were speaking Italian, and he started speaking Italian towards them, which made them shocked. He also appreciated soccer, which is my favorite sport, and that’s kind of my tie to him, and he seems like an all around good person.”

Senior Micah Fossett appreciates Kobe’s humorous side, saying, “My favorite Kobe memory is watching the documentary on the beef between him and Shaq because it was really funny, especially when Kobe made fun of Shaq for having won less championships than him. I liked it because it showed that even though he seems to be a cut-throat person, he’s really cool and funny inside. When it first happened, everyone in the league was really sad and broken, because everyone cherished Kobe to be a higher figure in the NBA, and I think his passing has awakened some dormant drive and tenacity in a few of these players, seeing your childhood legend pass away in a tragic manner made some of these players feel like they should work harder for him.”