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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Remembering Kobe: Looking up to Kobe Bryant


Growing up as an only child in a single mother household, I never really had many positive male role models in my household to look up to. Positive, meaning always striving to be their best self.

In 2002, I asked my mother for a PlayStation 2 and a video game called “NBA Live 2003.” This game will always be my favorite part of my childhood because it allowed me to escape my crippling reality and jump into a world filled with black men who were striving for greatness.

During those times, I’d constantly play as either the Los Angeles Lakers or the Philadelphia 76ers. As you could imagine, when I played as the Lakers, I only shot with Kobe Bean Bryant. Kobe was one of my many positive role models, similar to many other black men around the world, but he was so much more than just someone to look up to.

If you’re a hooper at heart, a genuine hooper who enjoys every aspect of the game, you wanted to be just like Kobe.

Young Kobe (when he was wearing number 8) is my favorite Kobe because he was the new kid on the block dunking on NBA veterans before he could legally drink alcohol. He played 20 seasons and switched numbers after his 10th season. In 2006 he dropped 81 points on Jalen Rose, which is the most points anybody has ever scored in the league since Wilt Chamberlain.

When I was younger, I was always so fascinated with NBA players who did nothing but get buckets. I didn’t care about assists, rebounds, steals or blocks. If it wasn’t a bucket, I didn’t want it. Number 8 Kobe embodied that.

I consider number 24 Kobe to be the embodiment of the nickname “Black Mamba” because he couldn’t rely on Shaquille O’Neal anymore after winning three NBA finals in a row with him. The black mamba is one of the most venomous snakes to slither on Earth. They constantly hunt for prey and if they are in danger, their head and a third of their body can rise up and leap to attack.

Kobe has done this countless times in terms of basketball where he seeks out defenders he knows can’t guard him to abuse, or when he’s in danger or vulnerable, he rises up and drains the middy or three pointer.

But the Black Mamba is more than a persona or nickname: it’s a lifestyle, a mentality to destroy anything that is blocking you from your goal. To be like Kobe was to be resilient and to have discipline.

He blew up this mamba alter ego to spark the minds of millions for our generation and so on. The same can be said about his daughter, Gianna (Gigi) Bryant. Although she was only 13 years old, she had an enormous following. One could argue she was more famous than the average WNBA player.

Gigi Bryant had over eight million YouTube hits and had all of the NCAA women’s basketball eyes on her. She was going to be the future of the WNBA but I believe, similar to Kobe, she sparked the minds of millions of women to take whatever they were doing to the next level because tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Many males hope to have a son as their first child, it’s no secret, but Kobe was different. He truly wanted daughters and ended up having four of them. The reason he took helicopters was to avoid the heavy Los Angeles traffic. He was adamant about not missing any of his kids’ games, recitals or family time as a whole.

Kobe dedicated himself to being one of the greatest basketball players of all time while being the greatest dad of all time. This dedication is what rang true throughout the hearts of fans, players and his family.

He once said, “The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.”

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