The blog post before you is long overdue, but it happened just over a month after losing my mom that I didn’t have it me to write about a player that I got to watch his entire career. From #8 to #24 here is my tribute and how basketball, and through Kobe Bryant, was an integral part of getting my life back.
I still remember the day back January 26th, 2020, when I heard that the helicopter carrying Kobe, his daughter, who had his skill, and others, had crashed, leaving no one alive. For those that don’t know me, since I was five, I have watched basketball. So all my friends and family reached out. I got so many messages of “Dude, Kobe died in a helicopter crash.” I knew by then, but it shows that people who knew me that he was my all-time favorite player.
I remember the rare times in Kobe’s rookie year I saw him play and remember thinking that he would end up being my favorite basketball player. I got to see five championships. Also the up and down of a playing career from one of the legends of the game. I remember his last game how I cheered him on even though he took so many shots he still scored 60 points. I was watching (and have rewatched every year since) the famous 81 point game against the Raptors. It was the Kobe mentally, “The Black Mamba” that took over when he changed numbers.
I remember buying my first ever Kobe Bryant #8 jersey. I was on a trip to L.A., and I saved up working as a wood delivery guy to purchase that jersey for months. I spent, which for a thirteen-year-old was a lot of money, around $150 for the jersey. I wore that jersey out, and it still sits in my closet to this day. Then the jerseys over the years. I had to get #24 when he decided to change numbers. It was the fire in the player that I try to emulate in my writing.
What does this have to do with mental illness? Everything. Sports is my passion. I use it as a way to relax after a long day. Baseball is, of course, my favorite sport, but basketball has also been a significant part of my life alongside football. The big three in my life. Sports are how I get past the hard parts of the day. It has been hard since the pandemic because I would right now be planning my day around if the Dodgers are playing. In this mental illness life, you have to find the things that help you deal with anxiety, depression, and even insomnia.
The only other player that I have watched his entire career is Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw. Kobe was a significant part of my life as a player of a sport I love. It saddens me because Kobe’s second act was coming along excellent, which included philanthropy work and his winning an Academy Award for the film Dear Basketball. A life cut short, and it is a reminder that we all have this limited time of this Earth. Kobe, even with his off-court life, was an inspirational person to me, and I will always be proud to know I got to see the ups and downs of life. The triumphs and failures. Thank you, Kobe Bean Bryant.
Always Keep Fighting
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