Kobe Bryant: A Winner

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Kobe Bryant: A Winner

Chris Brake, Staff Writer

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Nothing is more vulnerable than death. In Greek mythology, the gods are idolized for their power and immortality. Sports heroes are often idolized the same way. How ironic, that a man who reached the summit of basketball immortality and power through unrivaled toughness should remind us that we are fragile creatures. Kobe was no mortal though, not in the eyes of his fans. Kobe was bigger. He represented a mentality, a vigor, and an image that went beyond basketball.

Kobe is found in the kid who loved to shoot fade-away’s in the driveway. We all yelled “Kobe!” when we threw a piece of trash across the room into the wastebasket. Kobe is basketball in its simplest form. An idol that represented intense love and dedication to a game centered around putting a ball through a hoop.

If you wanted to build a player with a borderline insane drive for getting better, you would probably end up with Kobe Bryant. Known for his relentless time spent working on his jump shot in the gym, early mornings in the weight room, and a fierce competitive fire, Kobe was the complete package. Kobe’s work ethic was unrivaled.

Kobe was a no-nonsense person to the highest degree. All he knew was hard work. If he had a problem with how much effort a player was giving, he’d make it known -you can ask Shaquille O’Neal (aka Shaq). Kobe took issue with Shaq’s apparent lack of dedication. According to ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith, when Shaq would eat a big Mac from McDonald’s prior to a game, it irked Kobe. He was so regimented in his diet and work process, it baffled him when others did not show the dedication he believed was warranted. It did not matter to him if it took late nights or early mornings in the gym for Kobe to get to the summit. Kobe was all about it.  He was in love with the process and was ultimately devoted to hard work. When it was all said and done, all that hard work culminated in five NBA championships.

“Never make excuses,” was Kobe’s mantra. This is a mindset for anything in life, not just basketball. According to Kobe Bryant, being successful means getting the job done no matter what. Life will be difficult sometimes. Winners seek a final goal and will never be satisfied without achieving it, regardless of the obstacles. This was Kobe’s lifestyle, and he was a winner.

Kobe Bryant defined the “Mamba Mentality.” This is the idea that belief in yourself should be sky high. It means never giving up. It means not being afraid to take the tough shot. Kobe never was. He had no conscience on the court. And if you ever watched him play, you knew the degree of difficulty he faced with the shots he was taking. Kobe was a different animal but he was not perfect. He had many inefficient shooting nights due to the massive amount of shots he would take. Nevertheless, bad shooting games never phased Kobe. He was never afraid to shoot, regardless of whether he had missed his last five shots. He was not afraid to take the clutch shots either. This is what I admire most about Kobe Bryant, he was one of the few who craved the last shot. Kobe did not care if he missed it and he delivered when it mattered most.

There are only a select few number of players you can label that share that same DNA as Kobe Bryant. Michael Jordan showed it before Kobe came along and Larry Bird before him. These are the types of names Kobe should be revered with. These men were the fearless, the shot makers, and the geniuses of the game of basketball.

Kobe Bryant has put his own stamp on the game of basketball. A legend for his talent and work ethic, but also in his commitment to his family. The Mamba will live on forever.