Editorial: ‘Mamba Mentality’ Will Live on Forever

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Written by Nate Roys, Publications Chief

Kobe Bryant. The Black Mamba. An icon gone too soon.

One of the greatest players in basketball history passed away on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California along with his 13-year-old Gianna, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and Payton Chester en route to a basketball game. 

Gianna, Alyssa and Payton were members of a basketball team that Bryant coached, while Mauser was the assistant. John and Keri Altobelli were the parents of Alyssa, while Sarah Chester was the mother of Payton. There was a ninth person on the helicopter, the pilot, Ara Zobayan, who also lost his life in this tragic crash. 

Kobe Bryant will be remembered for a lot of things on the court: his slam dunk contest crown in his rookie season, his three-peat with Shaq from 2000 to 2002, his 81-point game against the Raptors in 2006, his Most Valuable Player award in 2008, his two Olympic gold medals, his two-consecutive titles with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, winning Finals MVP in his last two championships, being an 18-time All-Star in his 20 years playing in the NBA, his final game, in which he scored 60 points in front of a star-studded Staples Center crowd and having two numbers retired by the Lakers, No’s. 8 and 24.

Kobe leaves behind a legacy that few will be able to match. Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa Bryant, and daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri Bryant. Bryant was an incredible father, and loved each of his daughters dearly. 

The news of Bryant’s passing shocked the world, and devastated many current NBA players who still had to compete in Sunday’s games. Players took 24-second shot clock violations and eight-second backcourt violations during Sunday’s games to honor Bryant, who wore both 8 and 24.

Kobe was a tenacious competitor, and if one thing can be taken away from his approach to life, it’s the “Mamba Mentality.” Bryant never backed down from a challenge and always pushed himself to be the best person he could be.

 “To sum up what ‘Mamba Mentality’ is, it means to be able to constantly try to be the best version of yourself,” Bryant said. “It’s a constant quest to try to better today than you were yesterday.”

This is something we can all carry with us. Kobe Bryant was not perfect, neither am I, neither are you. But he attacked every day trying to get better. Trying to be a better basketball player, a better role model, a better father and a better person. 

Each day we should carry on Kobe Bryant’s legacy by practicing the “Mamba Mentality,” and striving to be our best self, because none of us are promised tomorrow.