Fords remember Mamba

Kobe Bryant against the Washington Wizards, February 3, 2007 – Keith Allison via Wikimedia

For decades, the sports world has admired Kobe Bryant’s legacy on and off the basketball court. His accomplishments go beyond the realm of basketball, and his impact on the community was felt by many. 

     Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter accident in Calabasas, California, on January 26. Eight others passed in the tragic crash, including his thirteen-year-old daughter Gianna. Kobe and the other passengers were on their way to basketball practice at his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California. 

     Word first broke after TMZ posted the shocking news on their various social media platforms. Almost instantly, the world began to mourn the loss of this beloved figure. Lakers’ Superstar LeBron James, who played with Bryant on USA’s Olympic team, posted a heartfelt message on his Instagram honoring his idol.

     “Man [I’m] sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA..” 

     The night before this death, James had just passed Bryant on the all-time scoring list, moving James to third all-time and surpassing Kobe’s mark of 33,643 career points.

     At Haverford, Kobe Bryant has been a frequent topic of discussion since his passing. Many have had different reactions, but one word has been common ground in each conversation: Mamba. 

Members of The Main Line Times_ 1994 boys_ All-Main-Line basketball team, featuring Kobe Bryant and future Dean of Students Mr. Mark Fifer – courtesy of The Main Line Times

     “Kobe Bryant changed the world of basketball in the Philadelphia area,” Fourth Former Aidan Welsh said. “He impacted so many local players and inspired the youth to live by his ‘Mamba mentality.’” 

     Many other national figures took to the media to proclaim their sadness over his death, and discuss the impact he made on their lives. Sporting events across the nation honored Bryant with a moment of silence. The first to do such was the NFL Pro Bowl, with the news breaking just before the game’s start time. Players such as Packers’ Linebacker Za’Darius Smith celebrated in honor of Bryant, even gathering with teammates to do a recreation of his famous fadeaway jump shot. 

     While many have highlighted his accomplishments, many have not forgotten Bryant’s questionable past. Rape allegations filed against Bryant in 2003 have regained recent attention. A nineteen-year-old accused Bryant of sexual assault in a hotel room in Eagle, Colorado. The case was dismissed after the victim refused to testify, but Bryant still apologized to the woman and her family. The fourteen-month prosecution left a dent on Bryant’s legacy. To this day, his alleged actions in that Colorado hotel room will always tarnish Bryant’s reputation.

“It’s important to celebrate his achievements in life, yet always be mindful of his past.”

Trent Davis ’21

     Fifth Former Trent Davis said, “We all have our issues, including Bryant himself, but it’s important to celebrate his achievements in life, yet always be mindful of his past.”

     Bryant continued life married to Vanessa, and found new interests in cinema, winning an Oscar for his short film, Dear Basketball. Most notably, Bryant has continuously been regarded by his peers as an amazing, dedicated father. Bryant often received questions during interviews about the possibility of having a boy. Bryant responded by saying, “I’m a girl dad.” 

     Kobe Bean Bryant shone in all aspects of his basketball and post-basketball life, and for this, he will go down as one of the most influential sports icons to ever step on a basketball court.