Mamba Mentality Forever

Written By Adrianna LoChirco

Kobe Bryant personified the modern sports alpha. On the court, he was the alpha, really—for better, and, sometimes, worse, in greatness and defeat, demanding to put the whole game on his shoulders when it mattered most, and even when it didn’t matter much at all. He was not playing basketball to make friends. He kept a restless edge, even among his teammates. Bryant played to win, period, and over his 20 seasons as a Los Angeles Laker, he won all the time, finishing with five championship rings, and a firm space among the very best to ever play the game. 

 “This loss has everyone shocked, sometimes we become so naive to celebrities thinking that nothing bad will ever happen to them and they will live on forever. It is very sad to see such a legend pass under terrible circumstances.” says junior Devyn Hobbs.

There’s a whole basketball generation out there that patterned their game upon Bryant’s—if you think NBA fandom just segued artfully from Michael Jordan to LeBron James, you’re missing a big, essential group of people for whom Kobe was The One. Bryant straddled the game’s evolutions from in-the-paint aggression to perimeter shooting, because he really could do it all—score from anywhere, often double and triple teamed, and, let’s face it, with maybe a teammate or four wide open. He believed he was the best option, because he usually was. He finished with 33,643 career points—behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and James, the last of whom passed his mark Saturday, hours before Bryant died. 

“My heart breaks for Vanessa, i can’t imagine losing the love of your life and your daughter the same day. Also, my prayers are with the others that were killed in the crash.” says junior Vanessa Rowan. 

What happened Sunday in California is a tragedy, foremost for the affected families, who face unimaginable pain. The investigation into the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others aboard a Sikorsky S-76B will probably focus on foggy weather conditions and potential mechanical problems, aviation experts and pilots said Sunday.

Visibility in the region was so poor at the time of the crash, which occurred shortly before 10 a.m. in Calabasas, that the Los Angeles police and county sheriff’s departments had grounded their helicopters. Bad weather would not necessarily have prevented Bryant’s helicopter from flying, because it should have been equipped with instruments that allow pilots to fly in inclement conditions, experts said. But if not using the instruments, the pilot would have been operating the helicopter under visual flight rules, or VFR, which require good visibility.

An audio recording of an exchange between the pilot and air traffic controllers indicates that he was flying under visual flight rules, but that could not be confirmed Sunday night. At one point, the pilot tells a controller that he is “in VFR at 1,500″ feet. Bryant’s helicopter departed John Wayne Airport in Orange County at 9:06 a.m., passed over Boyle Heights and near Dodger Stadium, then circled Glendale before crashing in heavy fog, according to publicly available flight records and witness accounts.

This incident leaves millions world wide devastated by such a tragic incident. We tend to take life for granted and not realize that anything could happen at any moment. Each day as a society we should hug our loved ones tighter, keep them safe, and stay cautious of dangerous situations. Prayers to the Bryant family and the other families that suffered loss through this incident. Kobe will always be a legend, may his spirits, as well as Gianna, live on forever. 

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