Mamba Memories- Taken from us to soon #8-#24
I will share these memories on my Kobe tribute show to be aired when I can process this emotional event.
I apologize in advance as I will be scattered as I will share thoughts as they come across my mind. There will be typo's and punctuation issues. I have been told I write like I speak.....
I am flooded with thoughts and emotions with this horrific news. I know this is therapeutic for me to try to put this in words. Thanks in advance for endulging me as I try to articulate only a few memories I share. I can not share them all, but I can share a few. This is my path, my journey my way of dealing with this event.
The NBA community is shocked and shares great sadness. Sunday 1/26/2020 will be a day many sports fans will need to time to grieve from. Time is needed to cry, remember, reflect, everyone will need their own personal time to process this legends passing. It is a challenge to find the right words to do this guy's legacy justice. I know I can not find the right words, but I guess it is therapeutic for me, I am numb, I am in shock.....I am still at a loss for my grandfathers passing, to me my grandfather walked on water. so, I own the fact I am not in touch with my true feelings on this situation. I am sorting all of this out as I go.
This new generation or younger generation of sports fans, Kobe was and is the icon, Kobe was and is my age groups MJ. Kobe is to this generations basketball player, like Tiger is to my generations Golfer
The news was stunning, Could it be true? Was it really Kobe? he was only 41 ? Was his family with him? were all his daughter's with him? Was it a helicopter crash? was it a plane crash? was it an automobile accident? the feeds had to be wrong ! with this day of social media overreaction, what was true? what was speculation? This is devastating news. It can not be true?
I preface this with I admired Kobe and his on court accomplishments and his mental approach to the game. He was a fierce competitor. He was MJ's mini me. My Generation had MJ who transformed the game and took the NBA global but I wasn't a Kobe fan ! I respected his game. I respected his accomplishments. I didn't turn on a game because Kobe was on but when MJ played, I turned the game on but again Kobe was something special ! Kobe has inspired millions across the globe, I am taking nothing away from him. I will admit everywhere you look you see Bryant jersey's being worn That's an impact !
I have coached in many countries and in every country I have been in, I would see thousands of Bryant jerseys being worn.
Mamba I know your on court accomplishments and accolades, they are heavily documented, but what I am sad about is we in the human race will learn more about you and discover more who you were off the court with your passing, and that is a shame, while you were alive we took you for granted and could only debate who was better? Who would you want in poll questions ! I am sad for that. It seems juvenile of us to compare, contrast and label players. Let us learn to just APPRECIATE your gifts and talents.
I remember the interview when he discussed his desire to get a helicopter and pilot, he did it as LA traffic was getting worse and he didn't want to miss family time, Flying in a helicopter would only take 15 min. He didn't like setting in a car in traffic and miss a school play or a school function, and he wanted to train and focus and not compromise family time.
Routine early morning weights and workouts, take care of media or whatever. Fly back get in a carpool line, pick up kids.
Train and focus work on craft and his skill set. He wanted and valued the time to spend with his kids, he didn't want his wife to always pick up kids, the NBA schedule didn't allow for him to be at a lot of kids school functions. the helicopter would allow him to maximize his time with his kids when he wasn't on the road. He always focused on the Details....
Then we find out his 13 year old daughter was with him? Gianna, GiGi, who was probably most like him of his daughters. So many images and videos of Kobe and Gianna attending basketball games and Kobe being a mentor and teaching her the game, that she so passionately loved. Kobe was her coach of 13 year olds. I heard a Jimmy Kimmel (Oct 2018) interview where Kobe shares with everyone that GiGi was going to carry on a legacy of the game. Kobe said, people would say, "you need a boy to carry this legacy of hoops on and Gigi would resound, " oye, I got this!"
When I learned that the helicopter crash, and trying to process the news Kobe was on the helicopter. then learning that Gigi was also a passanger. It became a double tragedy. My mind drifted to Venessa, his wife. How can she deal with losing her husband and the loss of a child? Then my mind drifted and I told my wife, I said, " Babe, I bet he was going to a game with his daughter."
I wanted to be wrong, I wanted it to be false news. but it wasn't. It was real.... I thought about Kobe trying to comfort his daughter as the helicopter was going down. I thought about Kobe and what he was telling the other passengers on the helicopter.
I think about the time he never flinched when Matt Barnes acted as if he was going to hit Kobe in the face with a inbounds pass, Kobe didn't flinch.
I think of his youngest daughter who will never know her dad, other than what people tell her. She will not know his smile, she will not know his voice, she will not remember his embrace or hugs or smell. this makes me sad !
I received a what's apps message from my son Brandon, who grew up in LA. He was a huge Kobe fan, his bedroom across the hall from our room in our home, is decorated with Kobe on his walls.
He said, ,"Did you see the news?" My son Brandon was sad. He sent this message from the country of Georgia where I feel Kobe has inspired him to be a baller.
My daughter Whittney in Chicago sent me a text, she said, "Did you see the Kobe news?"
Then my phone and Kim's phone started blowing up with people trying to process the news?
My family was sending me text. My sister, my nephews. Everyone was in shock. Text from Coaches, Players and friends who knew of my connection to the game.
I was trying to find the right words again.
Kobe was global. he played basketball at age 8 in Italy where Jelly Bean Bryant was playing and he admired a player named Mike D Antoni. Kobe was fluent in multiple languages and rapped in Italian. He entered the NBA out of High School.
I am a pro basketball coach, I remember coaching at the NBA summer league, when Kobe was a rookie. He was with the La Lakers. Kobe was straight out of high school.(17 years young) he was a teenager. he was walking hand and hand with his girlfriend Venessa. He was a star in the making. He had on his shades, he had on his sweat suit, the shoes clean , he was holding hands with Venessa. the venue was the pyramid at Long Beach State University. I remember camera crews by the hundreds following around this Lower Merion HS standout out of Philly. He coined the phrase, "I am taking my talents to the NBA." This phrase later to be used by Lebron James when he stated, " I am taking my talents to South Beach." His first game in the NBA summer league he scored 36 pts. D Fisher and T Lue was also rookies that summer league on that same team. You knew you were watching greatness. He was already bigger than Snoop Dogg in LA. Jerry West the GM of the Lakers you knew he was great and you orchestrated the trade to bring him from Charlotte to LA. oh, by the way, Kobe averaged 36 pts / game in that NBA summer league. oh by the way, my free agent team that I was head coach of ,in that NBA summer league, advanced to the final four and was beaten by Anthony Mason and Penny Hardaway. (Just Saying)
Kobe was always well prepared, there is a popular meme of Kobe where it states, " Don't be bored with the basics." Kobe would focus on the details and fundamentals of the game. he was known to set in a practice gym for hours work on a simple swing through in a triple threat position and make sure his feet are square to the rim. This is a meticulous detail, but he would focus and work on it with repetition to perfection.
Kobe I remember you in your first playoffs vs the Utah Jazz and you shot the air ball, but the fact you had the confidence to shoot it , that was something I remember ! you were ready then to put the venom in 'em . Coach Del Harris knew of your young swag.
Kobe was curious for details, he had great coaches and teachers of the game as mentors. Jerry West, Coach Fred "Tex" Winters, Phil Jackson, He would set and pick NBA players brains to learn from them and he accepted the challenge of wanting to be better than MJ. He was the black mamba. I think of my personal friends who coached him and worked with him. Kurt Rambis, Jim Cleamons, Tex Winters, Bill Bertka and the list goes on. I have been in the LA practice facility many many times. I think of Mike Zwick and many who have been apart of that franchise. The Lakers are like the Jazz, they are family owned business, so for 20 years Kobe was your family. I am glad to hear the organization is bringing in counselors to help employees deal with the grieve and loss.
Jerry West, the NBA LOGO, was a mentor, Kobe was only 17 years old. Jerry West was like a surrogate father to Kobe. Kobe couldn't drive around LA when he was traded to the Lakers. Kobe wanted rides to the gym for workouts, Jerry would drive him to the gym and work with Kobe. Jerry West watched him grow from a boy to a man. the Logo basically raised him. Kobe couldn't get into clubs and drink beers with the fellas, truth be told , he probably didn't want to either.
If you came into a pre game shoot around or walk through and your responsibility was to show the opposing teams playing sets and quick hitters, if you didn't know it and your were not prepared as a coach, Kobe would call you out on it. Kobe not only challenged the players to be prepared as he, but he also challenged the coaches and management to be at their best. This is why the riff happened between Shaq and Kobe. Kobe couldn't understand how or why Shaq was not coming into camp in shape and prepared as he was. A Champion mindset can not understand or accept a mediocre mindset. They can not comprehend and they don't want to comprehend it.
As a professional basketball coach, I have many NBA friends. I am friends with writers, GM's, Players, Agents so My Facebook timeline was full. My twitter feed even more full as even common people writing memories. My Instagram feed was all people sharing memories and photos and quotes and short videos.
I love hearing the stories from Kobe's teammates and NBA players talking about their experiences with or against Kobe. Most people become greater if they pass early. Kobe was 41 years young, and his stories are GREAT ALREADY !
If you haven't already, read the Dear Basketball letter from Kobe after his retirement Nov 29, 2015. This was published for the Players Tribune: Google it and give it a read..
How can you not love and admire Kobe's dear basketball letter and good bye to the game? Most Fans had a Love/Hate relationship with Kobe. If you were a Laker fan, you were a Kobe fanatical, If you cheered for any other team in the NBA , You hated him !
Kobe would brake your heart by beating you time and time again and he would relish in the victory and give you a wink and a smile as he took your heart out. !
I agree with Dan Patrick, the host of the DP Show and former ESPN broadcaster. Kobe Bryant was curious. He wanted to know how to not only compete with MJ, Kobe wanted to know how to be better than MJ ! He talked with MJ, he picked his brain. He talked with coaches, he met with coaches, we watched film with coaches. He wanted every advantage he could gain.
Other than MJ, whom else was a competitor like an MJ? he would watch those films to emulate MJ's moves. Mamba mentality was born. Mamba Mindset.
NBA teams are taking 8 sec back court violations, 24 sec shot clock violations in his memory
Maybe at 8:24 am /pm there should be a moment of silence for him? on a Kobe Bryant day !
Yes he will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this year with Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.
MJ passed the NBA Torch onto him after MJ has the torch passed onto him from Magic and Larry who took it from Dr. J that is my generation.
Has Kobe passed the torch onto Lebron James? I know Lebron just passed Kobe for 3rd all time on the scoring list.
Kobe was transitioning from a selfish NBA All Star with life after basketball, He won an academy award for Dear Basketball !! What other NBA player has done that?
Kobe was enjoying coaching his daughter and teaching her the Mamba mentality.
Kobe was great on the ESPN documentary called " details" he was teaching in this segments, he was sharing his knowledge, I love this. I am a coach and this is what I did for years breaking down film. I cant get enough of this stuff.
For my generation, I remember Magic Johnsons announcement he had HIV ! This is the closest announcement to make me feel some sort of way?
This was a difficult for me as the passing of Michael Jackson and Prince all amazing entertainers. Kobe too was an entertainer.
Kobe should be remembered as GREAT on the court, but how about off of the court and a family man, yes, we all know about the case in Colorado ! In life, humans make mistakes and people can learn from mistakes. Kobe was a family man and father. Kobe after basketball was empowering women, hiring women, he had women in his life in his home and he was paving the way for his girls to be strong and know they can accomplish anything they put their mind to.
I think of the Helicopter Pilot, I think of the Baseball coach and his daughter, I think of the young basketball coach also in route to the Mamba center for a scheduled game. Not just Kobe was killed 9 lives were lost ! We must also grieve for them as well.
I think of the Calabasas community who had to witness the foggy , and fiery crash. I think of the LA community and the Grammy awards that were held the same night of Jan 26, 2020.
I think of Kobe's recent comments : Kobe said there are women who could play in the NBA, that message was for his daughter to believe she could one day also be an NBA player. I believe this.
I agreed with Kobe's comments on AAU basketball....I will miss his insight as I agree with him on many levels. I am inspired to share my knowledge and share my insights with the next generation, as I too want to leave the game in good hands. I want to help young coaches.
numbness, sadness, loss of words ! I will go on, as life will go on. This makes me think of my own mortality. What is my legacy? What will I leave society?
You know you are something special when you go by one name.
Elvis, Mike, Madonna, Prince, Kobe
people know him as Kobe, not Kobe Bryant.
Kobe craved competition,. he was a competitionaholic? is that even a word? Thanks Dan LeBatard of ESPN, I am using it.
I am an optimist, I am always looking for the silver lining, as this is a horrible event, but I know our country is so divided with our current climate, for a short time, Kobe has united us as a country, as it doesn't matter who you are, where you are from, how much money you make, what color your skin is, it doesn't matter if you speak English or not, for a brief moment in time, we all are thinking of purple and gold and a man who wore it. We are thinking of Gigi, we are thinking of people who shared that helicopter ride with you, as these families are also mourning !
Rest in peace Captain Ara Zobayan- I know you did everything you could piloting your helicopter
Rest in peace Kobe Bryant
Rest in peace Gianna Bryant
Rest in peace Alyssa Altobelli
Rest in peace John Altobelli
Rest in peace Kerry Altobelli
Rest in peace Christina Mauser
Rest in peace Sarah Chester
Rest in peace Payton Chester
Here are a few more images for you !!
|Eyes are the window to the soul|
|Mamba Out !|
Coach Scott Fields