Basketball icon leaves behind a legacy of compassion

Austin Rutledge, Staff Writer

Recently the world lost a basketball legend, a role model and an icon Kobe Bryant.

Bryant was an inspiration to many. According to ESPN, about a quarter of all NBA players in the league right now grew up watching Bryant play the game. He was a great player but also as a person, what he did on and off the court was special.

Bryant was a five-time NBA champion and two-time finals MVP. He went to the NBA straight out of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore,  Pennsylvania at 18 years old. The legacy he leaves behind is nothing less than spectacular. In the last game of his career, he dropped 60 points on the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. We will have a generation that doesn’t know Bryant and won’t ever know the magic he brought to the game. He was an academy award winner, a noted philanthropist and a loving father to his children.

Fans mourned Bryant’s passing at the Staples Center where they had gathered so many times before to watch him work. Flowers, jerseys and thousands of gifts were laid out on the grounds the day of his death. His daughter Gigi, who died in the same incident that took Bryant’s life, was 13 years old. She loved the game more than he did, he often talked about how she was better than he was at her age. According to him, he was teaching her moves he didn’t pick up until years in the league and she was taking them and making them her own.

Anytime Kobe’s legacy got brought up he was asked whether or not he wanted a boy to carry on his legacy, his answer was always what Gigi told him, she had next.”

— Austin Rutledge

Those kinds of questions used to crack him up according to those who knew him, she brought him back to the game after his retirement, nobody else would’ve made a more perfect successor. Kobe gave his all to every aspect of his life, that’s what the mamba mentality is, that’s what Gigi embodied. At work ethic is what he carried with him into a second act that was just barely getting started.

He was the happiest he’d ever been according to his friends and family, it’s tragic knowing that Kobe will never get to give his hall of fame speech or watch Gigi carry the torch that is his legacy but solace can be found in the fact that he died doing what he truly loved, being a dad.

Kobe Bean Bryant and Gianna Maria Onore Bryant are survived by wife and mother Vanessa Laine Bryant and the couple’s 3 other children Natalia Diamante Bryant, Bianka Bella Bryant, and Capri Kobe Bryant.