It’s hard to wrap my brain around the fact that it’s been a year since the world lost Kobe Bean Bryant one of the hardest working and most influential people in modern history. I don’t know if there has been anyone like Kobe, yeah Jordan dominated basketball and Lebrons philanthropic pursuits are second to none but Kobe had a completely different impact. Kobe was a mentor, not just to a select few but to everyone that’s ever watched him compete, design, direct or even speak. Kobe was the blueprint on how to live life, his mamba mentality as it was referred to was not just about basketball or business, it was about life, how to attack each and every day with passion, determination and hard work no matter how big or small the task at hand was. Whether you’re a stay at home parent or the CEO of a fortune 500 company Kobe taught you to approach each and every task ahead of you with passion and determination. I have never seen anyone mean so much to so many people, when Kobe left us droves of people who didn’t know him personally or even met him felt like they had lost someone near and dear to their heart.
Within the brotherhood of the NBA Kobe was everyone's big brother, their mentor and when he left a part of the NBA left with him and in a weird way like many others all across the globe I felt that too. That mentor that’s helped get you through so many moments in your life, times when you just wanted to give up or try again later Kobe was always there seemingly encouraging you to keep going. I’m going to get to sneakers eventually but Kobe was bigger than that, bigger than sports and that needs the shine that it deserves. He never hesitated to give recognition to people who deserved it in all different industries, never hesitated to sign autographs or chat with fans and colleagues alike.
Although I’m a Raptors fan I’ve always idolized Kobe, the way he carries himself and his work ethic really stuck with me and inspired me to do so many different things that I’ve done in my life, even this whole blog idea has been floating around in my head for so long but it was the thought of Kobe that really propelled me forward into taking the leap of faith and going all in on it. My first pair of real sneakers that I ever owned were “Draft Day” Kobe 5’s and that’s where my passion for sneakers really took off. I was amazed by the way that a certain sneaker could hold the memory of such a momentous occasion and translate it through a certain colourway and that is something that I still carry with me to that day. What Kobe was wearing when he dropped 81 points on the Raptors, colourways inspired by the hectic draft day that he experienced being drafted by Charlotte then subsequently traded to the Lakers, moments like those much like Kobe will live on forever through his legacy.
Every big decision in my life has been decided in someway or another through the lens of Kobe Bryant, whether it was being scared to move to the opposite side of the country to attend university, start up my own business in high school or even do the job that I do now outside of this blog. I would always go back to Kobe, whenever I was scared that I was making the wrong decision or was unsure about something I always knew that because of the work I’ve put in I would be able to succeed. Whenever I wasn’t good enough or didn’t live up to the standard that I set for myself I always went back to Kobe, I had to keep working and keep grinding and I would be able to get to where I needed to go. Looking back at it its actually insane how many decisions in my life have been based out of how would Kobe approach this, what would he do, would he keep going or would he give up, he would never give up. He always preached “being comfortable being uncomfortable” and I carry that with me each and every day in every single task I undertake whether its writing, working or helping out people around me. The Mamba Mentality means different things to everyone but it maintains its core values in hard work, dedication and taking the shot no matter how big or small. To me it’s using what I have to better the people and the world around me, its taking risks no matter how scared I am and its constantly grinding and working even when no one is watching or even cares, if its important to me then its worth doing to the absolute best of my abilities.
There are always going to be things that are important to you that people may make fun of you for or give you a hard time about (trust me I know the feeling) but it’s all about pushing through all of that and keeping that laser focus on doing what you love. I don’t care if you’re an artist, athlete, parent, significant other its all about giving your best no matter what, no excuses just work, celebrate your victories and cherish those memories but always remember that nothing is given to you its earned. I was going to talk about Kobes sneaker history and how a Kid born in Italy and raised in Philly managed to get sneaker deals with the two biggest sneaker companies in the world but when I started writing it all just kind of flowed out of me. It has been a tough day thinking back about the tragic events that happened a year ago today (yesterday because this goes live on Wednesday) but if there’s one thing that I know will help me through what I’m feeling today its Kobe. I know that I am not the only person who feels this way and its okay to really let that out, it may seem weird that you feel so strongly about someone you’ve never met, it may feel uncomfortable to cry over a stranger but the thing is Kobe was never a stranger. To the people that looked up to him Kobe was always right there throughout your entire life. Even though he’s gone he will live forever in the hearts and minds of everyone who looked up to Kobe, Kobe Bean Bryant is eternal and that’s bigger than sports.
Rest in peace Kobe, we miss you.