• Brentaro Yamane

Kobe Bryant's Death


Former Los Angeles Laker, Kobe Bryant, clenches his fist during an NBA game.

SOURCE: The New York Times

It is Tuesday March 3, 2020, and it is still unbelievable to think that 5x NBA champion, Kobe Bryant, is dead. Kobe died back on January 26th in a helicopter crash at the age of 41; the helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California. His daughter Gianna was also in the helicopter and died at the age of 14.

As I have lived on this planet for over 19 years, I can easily tell you that out of all the famous people that have died in my lifetime, Kobe's death was the most depressing and was the most covered celebrity death that the media reported. Yes, I am aware that the media covered Michael Jackson's death closely back in 2009 and it was really shocking, but Kobe's death just seemed to have been reported a bit more by the media too me.

As I was a very little kid, I was a really big LeBron fan. I am 19 years old, and I am still a big LeBron Fan. That's beside the point, the point is that growing up a lot of my fellow classmates would talk about how Kobe was great and all that. I would just be sitting in a classroom, picture me as an 8-year old, being made of fun of how I thought LeBron was better and how I basically worshiped him more than Kobe. My classmates would also tell me how Kobe would have a "Mamba Mentality" and was able to make more clutch shots than LeBron. I have been able to prove to my classmates about how LeBron is better than Kobe with certain statistics. One of my favorite statistics involving LeBron vs. Kobe was how LeBron had a 16-6 career against Kobe Bryant in games. Then, one of my friends would say to me how Kobe won more championships than LeBron and it was kind of hard for me to argue that fact.

Kobe and LeBron were friends and I was aware of that more in the past four years. I went to "Champ's Sports" a lot in my years in middle school and high school. Now don't get me wrong, I still go to Champ's to this day, but I just think you all need to be aware of how often I went back in the day. Like, I would go there at least once maybe even twice in a week. Every time I would go to Champ's, I would just see a boatload of Kobe gear. It would be his shoes, jerseys, sweatshirts, socks, any type of Kobe apparel. It seemed to me that Champ's tried to sell more of Kobe Bryant's apparel compared to LeBron's apparel.

Every time a kid in one of my classes, would shoot a paper ball into a garbage can, they would say "Kobe" as they were shooting it. It became a pattern. I remember shooting a paper ball into a garbage can, in like intermediate school (grades 3-5), and I screamed "LeBron" as I shot it; the rest of the kids thought it was weird that I said "LeBron" rather than "Kobe", but I was just trying to be different. I had to defend my favorite NBA player and I thought saying "LeBron" while shooting a paper ball into a garbage can could convince more kids that he was better.

Growing up it seemed to me that when Kobe played in the NBA, more of his games were broadcasted on National Television compared to LeBron's. Now, when LeBron went to play for the Miami Heat, he started playing on National TV more often, because they were so good. But to me, it just seemed that ABC, ESPN, and TNT would show the Lakers, when Kobe was playing, play against teams that were not even that good just because he was playing. Oh, by the way, "Yes, I am a Lakers fan right now because of the fact that LeBron is playing." I just wanted to make myself clear about that.

To me, it was great that Kobe ended his career on not the hottest track. In the beginning of his career, and in his prime, it just seemed that no one could stop Kobe. Him along with his other teammates such as Shaquille O'Neal, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Metta World Peace, Lamar Odom, and Derek Fisher just seemed to be powerful and controlled the NBA. They would always make the playoffs and seemed to always be the team to beat each and every year in the Western Conference.

In Kobe's final three seasons in the NBA, he did not make the postseason and won his last postseason game on May 18, 2012 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals. Also, in Kobe's last three seasons in the NBA (2013-16), the Lakers overall record were 65-181 (0.264). They barely won a fourth of the games they played in those three regular seasons. They were in last place in their division, the Pacific Division, in those three seasons. It was nice to see Kobe score 60 points in his final NBA game against the Utah Jazz on April 13, 2016 in a 101-96 win as he became the oldest NBA player to ever score 60 points in a game as he was 37 years and 234 days old on that day.

Now, that he is dead I feel bad for not showing Kobe more love as an NBA fan. I had always not been a big fan of him due to my love for LeBron James. Kobe was a father, a husband, a friend, but most importantly, a role model for most young people, especially to my friends. He has been dead for over a month now and it is still hard to believe that one of the most successful NBA players is not here on this Earth. I bet he is looking down on all the people that cared about him and made him to the successful human being that he was. For all the Kobe Bryant fans, they should celebrate the life that he lived as they should keep on wearing his apparel and keep on yelling "Kobe" when they shoot a paper ball. Make sure you do not forget "The Black Mamba, one of Kobe's nicknames. God Bless to the whole Bryant family as I don't even know the sadness that they are going through.

Brentaro Yamane: bythebossandgoat@gmail.com and Twitter @BYHilton13

#KobeBryant #Bryant #NBA #LosAngelesLakers

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