Kobe! Kobe! Kobe!

The Black Mamba will be remembered for his hardwood accomplishments and a life that ended too soon. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

On Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 9:47am PT, Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant aged 13 and others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California a few miles outside of Las Angeles. The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter fell in the hills of this mountainous community. The news shocked the world with the news of his passing. ESPN is littered with heart felt condolences from former NBA, NFL, MLB players and sports stars from every walk of life. The news stopped our revolving world while news shows, social media and the radio world dropped their heads to shed a tear for this global icon. “It’s almost like finding out the news that Micheal Jackson and Prince died!” said my dad laying in his hospital bed in shock. “Son, when someone that changed a generation on and off the court, you will always remember where you were when you got the news”. There were 8 games played on Sunday and the NBA paid homage to Kobe by taking violations during the contest (8 seconds and 24 second shot clock).

January 22, 2016, the LA Lakers came into Dallas to stop a 3 game skid in the West. This game was named “The Blonde Bomber versus The Black Mamba”. I can remember having my press credential and my laptop in tow for this one. Driving to the AAC, you could tell that this game would be special. Arriving at the arena there were a sea of Bryant jerseys (#8 and #24) in Downtown Dallas. You had guys screaming at each other answering one simple question. “Who is better, Dirk or Kobe!” which made the evening so cool. When you talk about unicorns in the NBA, Kobe, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki are names that will always be thrown into the conversation. This would be the 50th meeting between the two (Dirk and Kobe) which made this game so special because Kobe shared that this would be his last year to be playing. He averaged 32 minutes, 25.5 points per game, 8.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists against the Mavericks. But on this night Kobe scored 62 points and didn’t get off the bench for the 4th. In the press conference, the room was packed and Kobe stopped by to share his thoughts on that night’s contest. In walks Dirk and gives Kobe his shoot around shirt for a keep sake. The room was humbled with the gesture from the Mavs star. I asked him (Kobe), “Come back and play one more year!” His answer was, “I have a whole life to live off the court, 20 years is enough!”

Kobe By The Numbers
Kobe is considered one of the greatest to play basketball not in the US, but in the world. Kobe has the numbers to be considered as such. Here are his numbers:
Kobe played 20 years with the LA Lakers
5x NBA Champion
2x NBA Finals MVP
18x NBA All-Star
11x First Team NBA
2x Scoring Champion
33,643 Points scored – 4th All Time
11,719 Field Goals Made – 5th All Time
48,637 Minutes played 6th All time
81 points scored in a game
24x scored 50 points
4x All Star MVP Winner
League MVP – 2008

Just one more time…
Starting at guard in his 20th year from Lower Merion High School!
Number 24
Kobe Bryant!