Remembering One Kobe Bryant

There will never ever be another Kobe Bryant, whose passion and fierce competitive spirit resonated throughout the NBA, basketball world, and the entire sporting community.

I grew up watching basketball and idolized the likes of Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Lebron James. Throughout the journeys of my idols, I have encountered, despised and cheered against one Kobe Bryant. The "Black Mamba, “as he is best known, broke my heart several times with his game-winning baskets and plays. It broke my heart too when I learned of his untimely passing.

As a young fan, I first remember hearing the name of “Kobe Bryant” when David Stern announced his name as the 13th overall section by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1996 NBA Draft, which was broadcast in the now defunct CityNet 25. Shortly, he was traded by the Hornets to the Lakers for Vlade Divac.

Kobe Bryant took the league by storm with his exhilarating moves and dunks. In the early part of his career, he was adjudged as a Slam Dunk Champion with his patented in-between-the-legs dunk. However, the turning point of Bryant's career came when Phil Jackson, a multi-time champion coach of the Chicago Bulls, came on-board after several playoff exits by the Lakers in the late 90s. His partnership with Laker legends Shaquille O'Neal and Pau Gasol produced five championship rings under the Phil Jackson era. The highlight of his individual career came when he set an individual scoring record by finishing with 81 points against the Toronto Raptors on 22 January 2006 at Staples Center, the highest number of points scored since the inception of the shot clock era in the NBA.

Kobe Bryant also took down several legends in his 20-year journey. He has dealt stunning defeats to the likes of Scottie Pippen in the 2000 Western Conference Finals, Allen Iverson in the 2001 NBA Finals, Chris Webber in the 2002 Western Conference Finals, Jason Kidd in the 2002 NBA Finals, and Paul Pierce in the 2010 NBA Finals, among others.

Kobe Bryant also had an undoubted loyalty to the Lakers Organization. Albeit rumors that he was headed to the Chicago Bulls in the 2004 season, he stayed on and remained a Laker throughout his 20-year professional basketball journey.

The game of basketball was good to Kobe Bryant, but he was equally good for the game of basketball. Unfortunately, life took him away from us too early at the age of 41.

Known as a winner for most of his career, it was difficult to accept that he lost his life helplessly. For most of his career, we knew how much Kobe Bryant wanted to take over a game when things go out of hand.

Knowing Kobe Bryant’s competitive spirit, I’m sure he would hate for us to dwell on the ‘’what ifs’’ regarding the incident. Instead, the memories he left us with are those he would want us to show and tell succeeding generations of basketball players and fans.

As a basketball crazy fan, I thank you Kobe Bryant for your immense contributions to the game of basketball.

There will never ever be another Kobe Bryant, whose passion and fierce competitive spirit resonated throughout the NBA, basketball world, and the entire sporting community.

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About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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