Kobe Bryant has always been one of my biggest inspirations in life. So when the news of his passing hit the internet yesterday afternoon, like many; I couldn’t cope with the untimely loss of my childhood hero.
Bryant’s career was exceptional: a five-time NBA champion, a two-time Finals MVP, an 18-time All Star, a two-time scoring champion and the league’s MVP in 2008. When he touched the court he was the ultimate competitor and everyone knew how psychotic his work ethic was.
He was never satisfied with what he had accomplished and always strove to achieve more on his path to greatness. His 20-year career in a Lakers jersey made him a staple in the city of Los Angeles.
Bryant will forever be remembered. As the world mourns, here is my tribute to some of Bryant’s greatest moments.
Kobe Dunks Over Dwight Howard
Before they were teammates, and Dwight was deemed “soft”, Kobe immortalized the superstar center on a poster for the ages.
Kobe vs. Matt Barnes
One of my all-time favourite memories of Bryant that shows he really was about that life.
Kobe’s Game Winner
Kobe was always known for being a clutch performer and a difficult shot maker. One of his most iconic buzzer beater’s came against Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.
Kobe Bryant 1-on-1 vs. Tracy McGrady
Bryant and long time competitor T-Mac discuss an old game of 1-on-1.
Kobe Drops 81 Points
This was one of the hardest games to watch as a Raptors fan. Not only were the Raptors winning early on in this game, but Kobe put on a historic performance for the ages.
Fans knew about Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point game, but nobody had seen it. This was the next closest thing.
Kobe and Jalen Reunite
That 81 point performance sparked this hilarious commercial years later.
Kobe Jumps Over An Aston Martin
15-year-old me thought this was real for the longest time.
When Kobe put out his new brand and nobody knew what the hell he was talking about or what it was.
Kobe Ignoring Chris Rock
Another testament to just how focused, dedicated, and competitive Kobe was. In the fourth quarter of the NBA Finals he had no time for games.
Kobe “jobs not finished” Bryant
There’s always that one reporter that tries to go the extra mile. Peep how this reporter tries to get Kobe to crack a smile.
Kobe’s First Championship Without Shaq
After years of struggling with talentless teams, Kobe finally delivers a championship without the help of Shaquille O’Neal and validates himself as an all-time great.
Kobe Pops Finger Back In
DO NOT WATCH if you get easily queasy. Was there anyone in the league tougher than Bryant?
Kobe Stares Down Mike Brown
A visibly frustrated Bryant gives Mike Brown the death stare for some questionable decisions down the stretch.
Kobe Over The Raptors…Again
I remember yelling at my TV because the Raps’ defence was a bag of bricks and this was a game they should have won. Yet, at the same time I had a smile on my face because I was witnessing another great Kobe performance at the age of 35.
Kobe’s Mask Game
During the all-star game, Dwyane Wade committed one of the hardest fouls in the game’s history, prompting one of Bryant’s infamous masked games. A trend that other stars soon followed.
Kyrie Challenges Kobe
During the Olympic training session, Kyrie Irving challenged Bryant to a $50,000 charity game of 1-on-1 in hopes of proving to Laker legend that he was worthy of his time.
Kobe’s Rap Career
In a legendary crossover, Bryant teams up with Brian McKnight on this joint.
Kobe Tears His Achilles
This was one of the saddest moments in Bryant’s career because it was the last time we saw him perform at such a high level for an entire season. But it was also another testament to Bryant’s will and the #mambamentality that he portrayed throughout his career.
Kobe’s Final Game
I remember choosing to watch this game over the Warriors’ 73rd win of the season. In true Mamba fashion, Bryant dropped 60 points on 50 shots in his final game ever.
At this age, and off such a tragic injury, Bryant’s performance was legendary and it’s only fitting that he left the court with another historic scoring performance.
Kobe Speaking On Coaching Gianna’s Basketball Team
A look at Kobe’s life as a father after basketball.
Kobe’s Iconic Sad Championship
After winning the 2001 NBA Championship, Bryant took some time to himself to reflect. During this period in his life, Bryant’s relationship with his father was not on good terms due to his recent marriage decision.
Despite the nature of his passing, I hope this post was able to bring a modicum of joy in this tragedy.
RIP to Kobe, Gianna and all the other victims who lost their lives.
Featured Image via The Root/Ethan Miller (Getty Images)