This past Sunday, the world lost a legend and an icon. Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant were among seven killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. It took everyone by shock. Bryant was only 41 years old while his middle daughter Gianna or “Gigi” was only 13 years old. Kobe Bryant was not only a legendary basketball player but also a global icon. On the court, Bryant was a master of the game of basketball. Kobe ended his 20-year playing career being a 5x NBA champion, 2x Finals MVP, 2008 NBA MVP, 18x all-star, 4x all-star game MVP, 11x All NBA first-team selection, 2x all NBA second-team selection, 2x all NBA third-team selection, 12x All defensive team selection, 2x scoring champ, and has both of his jersey numbers (8, 24) retired by the Los Angeles Lakers whom he spent his entire playing career with. Kobe is unquestionably a top 10 player of all time and his Mamba Mentality will never be forgotten. Kobe was lauded for his work ethic and his mentality. Bryant was nicknamed the Black Mamba because of his ability and mindset when he stepped on the court. In a 2015 interview with Ahmad Rashad, Bryant said, “When I step on that court, I become that. I am that killer snake. I’m stone-cold, man.” Kobe had no friends on the court and when he was playing, he was playing to destroy you and get in your head. Like the Mamba, Kobe could get you in a variety of ways and had a killer mindset where his only objective was to beat you and beat you bad.
The NBA and all its teams have been showing ultimate respect to Kobe as they have been taking 24 and 8-second violations at the start of the game to honor him. The Minnesota Timberwolves placed the ball at the free-throw line on the first possession of their game Monday night as Kobe passed Michael Jordan to become third all-time in total points with a free throw against the Timberwolves. The Lakers set up a memorial immediately outside of the Staples Center to honor perhaps their greatest player of all time. Thousands of Lakers fans have surrounded Staples Center with flowers and tributes and have been chanting “KOBE!!”. It is very easy to see how Bryant has impacted the game of basketball.
The more impressive thing is how much Kobe has impacted the world outside of basketball. Athletes and celebrities from all different sports and industries have been showing love for the Black Mamba. Tennis player Nick Kyrigos wore a Bryant Lakers jersey before and after his match with Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open. Kanye West and Chance the Rapper held a special Sunday Service and both performed and spoke in tribute to Kobe. Shaquille O’Neal was devastated by the deaths as he tweeted, “There are no words to express the pain I’m going through with this tragedy of losing my niece Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences go out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. I’m SICK RIGHT NOW” Shaq and Kobe had a special relationship and were widely regarded as one of the best duos to ever play the game.
Players are really taken aback by this tragedy as multiple players that wear 8 or 24 as their number are changing it in honor of the Laker great. Teams are also retiring Kobe’s jersey. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said on Sunday, “Kobe was an ambassador for our game, a decorated legend, and a global icon. Above all, he was a loving and dedicated father. Kobe’s legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick.” It shows how much respect Kobe has garnered from not only players but also coaches and owners around the league and world.
Kobe Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant was also killed in the helicopter crash. Nicknamed Gigi, she was an avid basketball fan and player and a huge lover of her father. Kobe famously had been coaching Gigi to be a great player at this age and, before her untimely death, was very supportive of her dream to be a WNBA player. Gigi’s dream school was UCONN and this past Monday, UCONN women’s basketball honored Gigi and Kobe with an honorary jersey. This tragedy has left the sports world heartbroken and a legendary player but more importantly a legendary man was taken from us. Kobe will never be forgotten because of his storied career, once in a lifetime basketball skills, killer mentality, impact on his community and those around him, and his ability as a father and husband to always go above and beyond to do everything 100%. The Black Mamba’s legacy and impact will never die and his life will continue to inspire millions. Mamba Mentality Forever. #8 #24.
The highest-paid neurosurgeon in the United States makes around $500,000 a year. Their education takes between 14 to 16 years, which means they are well into their 20s when they start working, and they probably won’t be making anywhere near $500,000 until they reach their forties. The average salary of a professional soccer player is 3 million a year, and they’ll be making that sum before their mid-twenties. Is this gap unfair? After all, professional athletes don’t save lives as surgeons do. They don’t have to study for decades, get into school debt, or spend any sleepless nights during residency. The reason behind this difference is a combination of factors, and as with most things in the modern economic system, we have to take supply and demand into consideration.