Today, basketball fans across the world mourn the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, died in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
We can confirm that Kobe Bryant passed away today from the causes of a helicopter accident.— Los Angeles Lakers Fans (@LakersFans_US) January 26, 2020
The entire Los Angeles Lakers family wishes to support their family and friends.
RIP KOBE 🙏❤️ pic.twitter.com/FdqwpAFoGY
The Philadelphia-born champion left behind his wife, Vanessa, as well as three daughters, and caused an emotional outpour. Shaquille O’Neall, his partner in leading the Lakers to consecutive NBA titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002, said on Instagram: "There are no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my niece Gigi & my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW!"
Meanwhile in L.A., fans in Bryant jerseys flocked to Staples Center, home base to the Lakers, to mourn while the guests of the 2020 Grammys arrived. In light of the tragedy, the awards night then began with a moment of silence, and attendees like the Jonas Brothers wore purple ribbons while musical artists like Lizzo and Alicia Keys dedicated their performances to the world-renowned player.
With his legendary achievements on the court, it is undeniable that Kobe Bryant has become one of the most beloved cultural icons in the 21st century. So ahead, here are some of his most inspiring quotes about success, humility and life.
“I want to learn how to become the best basketball player in the world. And if I'm going to learn that, I gotta learn from the best. Kids go to school to be doctors or lawyers, so forth and so on and that's where they study. My place to study is from the best."
It was already an amazing feat worthy of applause when Kobe Bryant entered the NBA straight from high school. But even then, he stayed humble. To him, life was a constant learning process. And he took playing in the big leagues as an opportunity to hone his skills and even further improve.
"Everything negative — pressure, challenges — is all an opportunity for me to rise."
It’s easy to think that his success that led to his stellar career happened overnight. But in the Black Mamba’s 20-year career, he undoubtedly faced a lot of pressures too, that were surely nerve-wracking and stressful. But instead of letting those take him down, he used them as a drive to try again, pick himself back up to stand even higher than he used to. Remember, he even managed to score free throws despite tearing his Achilles tendon? That’s the kind of perseverance and dedication we should strive to.
“When we are saying this cannot be accomplished, this cannot be done, then we are short-changing ourselves. My brain, it cannot process failure. It will not process failure. Because if I have to sit there and face myself and tell myself 'you are a failure,' I think that is almost worse than dying."
Kobe Bryant reached the peak of his career and became one of the all-time leading scorer through sheer will and determination. He became the face of the 16-time NBA champion Lakers franchise, cementing his reputation in NBA history. He was crowned league MVP in 2008 and became a two-time NBA scoring champion, and throughout his career, he earned 12 selections to the NBA’s All-Defensive teams. It’s this tenacious of mindset that led him to score some of the most legendary wins in the history of basketball.
"There's a choice that we have to make as people, as individuals. If you want to be great at something, there is a choice you have to make. We can all be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice. What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that — family time, hanging out with your friends, being a great friend, being a great son, nephew, whatever the case may be. There are sacrifices that come along with that."
Kobe Bryant undoubtedly loved his family, but when he worked towards winning Olympic gold medals and NBA's MVP titles, Kobe Bryant knew he had to sacrifice a bit of his personal time. He willingly accepted it in order to embrace his growth.
It’s devastating that another great icon had to leave us. But instead of remembering him with heavy hearts, let’s all celebrate his life, letting his work and legacy inspire us as we move into another chapter of our lives.
(Cover photo from: @kobebryant)