Not often does the death of a famous figure effect an entire nation, but this past week saw the world mourn for Kobe Bryant.
When NBA legend Kobe Bryant was killed Sunday, Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash that also took the lives of eight other people, including his daughter Gianna, the entire world was affected. Seemingly every person knew who Kobe Bryant was and his effects on both the game of basketball and the world. His death drew reactions from the largest personalities on the planet.
At Ferris, the reactions were easy to find, as athletes and students alike remembered the legend. Among the athletes, freshman point guard for the men’s basketball team, Jerimiah Washington, and sophomore forward for hockey, Justin Michaelian, had strong reactions to Bryant’s death.
“Kobe Bryant was a role model to me, not just on the court but off of it. I went through hard times in my life, like in high school with basketball there was time’s where I was getting better, but I wasn’t at the spot I thought I’d be. There was time’s where I would get down on myself, and I’d see quotes all over with Kobe Bryant saying to never give up, that in order to get where you want to be you’ve got to work hard.” Washington said.
“Whenever you about basketball and the NBA, the first people you think of are Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Michael Jordan. To me, he was a big role model, you hear all the stories about his work ethic and it’s an inspiration for me to try and work as hard as he could.” Michaelian said. “He light’s a fire, when you’re tired, you don’t feel like working, you think: “What Kobe would do?” He put’s that mindset into you.”
Kobe Bryant created an alter ego dubbed the black mamba during his career. This name became a major part of who Kobe Bryant was. The “mamba mentality” became the mindset that Bryant adopted to further his career. But what was the “mamba mentality”? Washington and freshman goaltender Roni Salmenkangas explained what it meant to each of them.
“When I think of the mamba mentality, I think to kill everyone in front of you as far as being on the court. My high school coach told me that there are no friends on the court, that’s the mamba mentality. When I see Kobe on the court, he would be going against Lebron who was a close friend, Chris Paul, all his close friends, and it’s like he’s not taking it easy on those guys, he’ll score 50 over their heads, they’ll joke about it later but while there on the court, he doesn’t play around.” Washington said.
“When the Lakers lost in the playoffs, Bryant went to work out at 4 a.m. at the local high school. To me, mentality is about hard work, never being satisfied, and trying to get better every single day.” Salmenkangas said.
Kobe’s impact wasn’t just for athlete’s, students also talked about the man that was Kobe Bryant. Sophomore forensic science and biotechnology major Kyle Latta.
“I don’t watch professional basketball or play the sport, but I know he had a tremendous impact on and off the court. He was a great role model for everyone.” Latta said. “He inspired everyone to work hard at whatever they do.”
Kobe Bryant was more than just a man, more than just an athlete. He embodied hard work, determination, and grit. He proved that if you work hard, make no excuses, and commit yourself to excellence, you can reach heights that were not thought to be reachable.
We all have a black mamba inside all of us, we all of the ability to exceed our potential in whatever we do as long as we work as hard as we can. It’s important that even though we lost a legend, a hero, and an icon, we don’t lose the values that Bryant lived by.