Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest players to ever grace a basketball court and an even better human off of it. He lived life every day trying to make a difference to the sport of basketball, but more importantly in his own family with his four daughters and wife. From the five NBA Finals Championships that Bryant won over his career to the countless memorable games that he had over his 20-year career; Bryant was a force that the league will not see for many years to come.

One of the most memorable games of Bryant’s stellar 20-year career occurred on January 22, 2006, against the Toronto Raptors. Bryant scored an astounding 81 points on 28-of-46 shooting, two assists, three steals and a block to boot. When Wilt Chamberlin scored 100 points in 1961, any fan of the NBA knew they would never see a feat like that again. Seeing Kobe score 81 is the closest any fan will ever get to anything close to it. This game showed just how impactful a player Kobe was not only for the Lakers but for the NBA as a whole.

Kobe Bryant had the heart of a lion, but the heart of a saint. His goal after his retirement from basketball was to be an ambassador for the Lakers, and basketball, but most importantly to be a father and husband. Kobe’s daughter Gianna looked to follow in her father’s footsteps and be a force in woman’s basketball. She looked up to her father, but she wasn’t the only person to. Go to any fan of the NBA since 1996 and Kobe Bryant was an integral part of their childhood and love of sports. Just last night (January 25, 2020) LeBron James passed Kobe for third on the all-time scoring list in NBA history, which was a moment for LeBron because he looked up to Kobe as one of his idols.

As a fan of the NBA, Kobe was a part of my childhood. I wasn’t a huge Lakers fan, but Kobe surpassed Lakers fandom and is spoken of in the same breath as Michael Jordan or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kobe was a player that was more than a basketball player; he was a legend.

Today, January 26, 2020, is a terrible day for not only the Lakers but any fan of the NBA because Kobe Bean Bryant passed away in a helicopter accident.

He was 41.

Even worse news is that his daughter Gianna also passed away at the age of 13.

My condolences go out to the Bryant family and the seven other people who passed away in the accident. This feels like I’ve lost someone close to me. This is the first celebrity death to impact me this way. In times like this let’s all remember to live life to the fullest and live life with a Mamba mentality. Rest in Peace Kobe, Gianna and all other passengers on the helicopter. My condolences go out to Vanessa, his three daughters and all of the other family’s affected.

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