Kobe Bryant was more than just a basketball player to me, he was a person that I always wanted to be like, he was my hero.  From the day he was drafted by the Lakers in 1996 he became my favorite player. The days of wanting to be like Mike was over, I wanted to be like Kobe.  Watching him play the game of basketball made me want to get better at all aspects of my game. Kobe is the reason I worked on free throws so much because at one point that was a weakness in my game.  I had the pleasure of watching Kobe play for my favorite team for 20 years, that just doesn’t happen a lot and in that 20 year span he gave me 5 NBA championships, countless All-Star games, Olympic Gold medal games and many more accomplishments that showed me if you work hard enough and dedicate yourself to your craft there is nothing that you can’t accomplish.  I had the pleasure of going to Kobe’s last game of his career, it was my first game ever at Staples and my first time ever seeing Kobe in person. I watched my favorite player of all time give everything he had for not only every fan that was in Staples that night but for every person that was watching around the world and he gave us a 60pt performance that only Kobe could give for his final game.  I know he didn’t hear me that night but I thanked Kobe for not only that game but for being the player that he was his whole career. Kobe after basketball was just as big of a hero for me as he was when he was playing. He attacked his after basketball life the same way he attack the game while he was playing. Kobe has taught me so much and that’s why his passing is so hard and is something that I honestly don’t think I will ever get over.  Having 2 daughters myself I couldn’t imagine losing one of them or them growing up without me there. It sucks that we will not get the chance to witness the greatness that was going to be Gianna Bryant, and how Kobe was going to have a huge hand in women’s basketball. To the Bryant family I pray for you and to the other families that lost people in this horrible incident I pray for you as well. To Gianna, I wish we could’ve seen the star that you were going to be.  To Kobe, thank you for all that you did not only for the game of basketball but for humanity, outside of my own father you where my idol and my hero and I am going to continue working hard to get to where I want to be using the Mamba Mentality. I wish I didn’t have to write this post and I know this will be the hardest post I ever have to write. Once again thank you Kobe. MAMBA OUT #8 #24

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