Twenty seasons. Five time NBA champion. Two time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player. Four time NBA All-Star Most Valuable Player. Two time Olympic gold medalist. That was Kobe Bryant.
Following the premature death of Los Angeles Lakers player, Kobe Bryant, many at MHS are mourning.
“I was simply in shock,” junior Cole Petch, varsity guard, said. “I didn’t want to believe what had really happened and I know it made myself and a lot of other people that looked up to him very emotional.”
Bryant, who is considered one of the most distinguished players to ever play in the NBA, died on the afternoon of Jan. 26. He was 41.
Bryant was flying in his helicopter to the Mamba Sports Academy to watch his daughter’s game when the plane reached low altitudes due to the severe weather within the area. The helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, Ca., just outside of Los Angeles. Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among the nine deaths.
“Anyone that knows basketball will tell you Kobe is one of the greatest to ever play the game,” Petch said. “He was a great scorer and teammate. Growing up I’d watch him play and try and do everything he would do.”
Petch remembers Kobe for his hard work and drive to succeed.
“I’d watch his highlights and then go practice the moves he’d make in games,” he said. “No one worked as hard as he did, and his work ethic has inspired athletes like myself.”
Vidur Vemulapalli, sophomore, said Kobe inspired him to become an NBA fan.
“He was an inspiration to others. He was a dominant player on and off the court,” Vemulapalli said. “I would say he was top five all time, and maybe the greatest one on one player of all time. He was self confident which helped drive his game.”
And his confidence always seemed to shine through. On Jan. 22, 2006 Bryant beat the NBA single game scoring record. Bryant managed 81 points to defeat the Toronto Raptors 122-104.
“I will remember the swagger Kobe had on the court,” Vemulaplli said. “Obviously, he is one of the greats, nobody can replace all of his talent. For 20 years he was unstoppable.”
To finish off his career, on Apr. 13, 2016, Bryant tallied 60 points in his final NBA game. Not only was this a historic night in Los Angeles, but it also set the record for oldest player to ever score 60 points in an NBA game.
Sriram Zaussenhaus, senior, is a fan of Kobe. Zaussenhaus said Kobe was a phenomenal player and taught him a lot about competitiveness.
“One thing I’ll remember about Kobe was the amount of chances he took that seemed to always go in,” Zaussenhaus said. “His final game as a Laker was a perfect example of his ability to shoot from anywhere on the court.”
Like many others, Zaussenhaus was shocked by the death of the renowned athlete.
“He had the Mamba mentality,” Zaussenhaus said. “I will remember it as his difference maker.”
After Kobe’s final game as a Laker, he delivered two simple words to all sports fans: “Mamba out.”
Carter Van Buskirk, sophomore, is a staff reporter for the Messenger. Carter plays varsity soccer for MHS. He is a board member for the sophomore class...
Mason Kellerman, sophomore, is an illustrator for the Messenger. In his free time, he likes to play tennis, perform theatre and hang out with friends....