It seemed like a laid back Sunday on the morning of Jan. 26. Comfort and contentment were found given that the sun was shining in Kamloops following weeks of cold winds. Around, 11 a.m., Pacific Standard time, the world seemed to freeze back over after the breaking news of former 18-time NBA all-star Kobe Bryant dying in a helicopter crash along with his thirteen-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other victims. The tragedy rocked sports fans around the world.
“The initial reaction was God please no,” said TRU Ukrainian basketball player Anton Bilous. “Obviously, the hardest hit was when we found out Gigi was on the helicopter too. That one was hard to process.”
It seems that everyone will remember where they were the day Bryant died. A man that had an impact far beyond the basketball court. “I had just gotten home from a hike and my friend had messaged me asking if I had seen what had happened to Kobe. I googled it straight away, and after realizing it, I just stood there for about fifteen seconds. I felt perplexed, to be honest. It did not and still does not seem possible that someone of his stature could be gone so quickly. I’m still expecting him to pop up somewhere,” stated TRU Australian Volleyball Player Anton Napo. “Most people have already, or will experience a loss in their life, but this was a wake-up call to realize how quickly something can be taken away.”
I personally experienced the size of his footprint after receiving a call from my sixty-year-old mother who never played sports in her life. She told me she heard the news, that she loved me, and to drive home safe that night. Bryant will not only be remembered for his play but mostly for his mindset as a human being. His tenacity, work ethic, and drive were unlike any other in not only athletics but also in business and life. His mentality was inspiring to so many and will be sorely missed.
“When I first found out, I was devastated and in denial. He had such an influence on me when I was coming back from my injury,” admitted TRU soccer player Adam Swanson. “He’s the most motivational person when it comes to hard work paying off and he proved to everyone that it’s more than just a sport. His impact goes way beyond basketball.”
Bryant is gone but will forever be in our hearts and minds. He is someone to think about next time you are playing basketball, learning in the classroom, or closing a business deal. The mamba mentality lives within us all and we should try to show it in everything we do. Kobe Bryant, we will miss you.