When I heard you were gone it was like being punched in the gut. Not because I knew you. I mean celebrities pass on all the time, but this time was different. I know this sounds crazy, but there are some people who seem like they’ll never die - and in many ways you won’t. You made me believe I could do anything. I remember the moment I fell in love with your Mamba Mentality. It was later than most basketball players. Although you were always one of my favorites, I didn’t study your life when I was younger the way I did when I became an adult.
During one of your interviews, I heard you talk about following dreams and how no matter what, we have to always believe that they’re possible. Then you said,
“That’s the most important thing. I never gave up on my dream.”
Hearing you say that was life-changing for me. I know you’ve given tons of motivational advice, but that’s exactly what I needed to hear in that moment of my life. Not only did you talk the talk, but you also walked the walk.
The year before I signed my first pro contract was long and brutal. I heard the word no more than I ever had in my entire life, and my dreams looked far away and foolish. Although I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, I kept going. You played a major role in my resilience that year. Developing the principles from your mindset stretched me to a place I’ve never been before. I refused to give up. I refused to fail.
You showed the world what it looks like to be all-in. You taught us that we could accomplish anything as long as we demanded absolute excellence from ourselves. Your passion didn’t just change the game of basketball. It changed the world. The world is a better place because you were here. You brought the Mamba Mentality to everything you touched from films, literature, to business, and even parenthood.
There aren’t enough words to describe how we all feel right now, so I will just say thank you. Thank you for being an advocate for women’s basketball. Thank you for being a great example of fatherhood. Thank you for inspiring a whole generation to achieve greatness. We love you, Kobe. Mamba Out!