Kobe’s Legacy Lives On


Sgt. Joseph A. Lee

Kobe Bryant stands ready to shoot a free throw during a 2005 pre-season game against the Golden State Warriors. Bryant died in a helicopter crash in 2020. (Alexandra Walt/CC0 1.0)

Janet Jenkins, Reporter

Kobe Bryant was a professional basketball player who rose above the sport to become a global icon. Kobe’s impact on the world is undeniable, and his legacy continues to inspire people around the world.

Born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he grew up in a family of basketball players, as his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, also played in the NBA.

Kobe showed an early interest and talent in basketball, often practicing for hours on end. He attended Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, where he quickly established himself as a standout player.

In his senior year, he led his team to a 31-3 record and a state championship, and he was named Pennsylvania Player of the Year.

In 1996, at the age of 17, Kobe declared for the NBA draft and was selected 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets. However, he was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would spend the entirety of his 20-year career.

From the outset, Kobe was a prodigious talent. He was known for his incredible work ethic and his obsessive focus on improving his game. 

He quickly established himself as one of the best players in the league, earning his first All-Star selection in just his second season.

Over the course of his career, Kobe would go on to win five NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals, and numerous individual accolades. He was an 18-time All-Star, a 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and a 12-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Team. He also won the NBA scoring title twice, in 2006 and 2007, and was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008.

But Kobe’s impact on the game of basketball went far beyond his individual accomplishments.

He was a fierce competitor and a natural leader, and he had a rare ability to inspire his teammates and his fans.

His signature “Mamba Mentality,” which emphasized relentless work and a refusal to accept anything less than excellence, became a guiding philosophy for countless aspiring athletes around the world.

Off the court, Kobe was also known for his philanthropic work. He established the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation in 2007, which focused on improving the lives of young people and their families in Los Angeles. 

He was also a passionate advocate for women’s basketball, and he worked to promote the sport and inspire young girls to pursue their dreams.

Tragically, Kobe’s life was cut short on January 26, 2020, when he and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The news of his death sent shockwaves around the world, as millions of fans mourned the loss of a true legend.

But even in death, Kobe’s impact on the game of basketball and on the world at large continues to be felt. 

His legacy as one of the greatest players of all time is secure, but he will also be remembered for his passion, his dedication, and his unwavering commitment to excellence. His life serves as a reminder that no matter where you come from or what obstacles you face, with hard work and determination, anything is possible.

Kobe Bryant was more than just a basketball player. He was an inspiration, a role model, and a true legend.

His impact on the game of basketball and on the world at large will be felt for generations to come. By celebrating his life on his birthday, we can remember the positive impact he had on the world and honor his memory in a meaningful way. We can keep his memory alive and continue to be inspired by his example. Rest in peace, Kobe Bryant.