Kobe Bryant’s two-year death anniversary brings back nostalgic memories


Ayaana Pradhan

Kobe Bryant had a legendary career not only as a basketball player that included five championships, but as a director for his short film, “Dear Basketball”

Max Berglind, Sports Reporter

Two years since the death of Kobe Bryant. 33,643 points scored. Five championships collected. 18 all-star appearances amassed. The 2007-08 NBA MVP. The date is Jan. 25, 2020. Location: Kobe Bryant’s hometown of Philadelphia. In the third quarter, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James passed Kobe Bryant to move up to third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The following morning, Kobe sent out a tweet recognizing the accomplishment. 

Bryant posted on his Twitter account, “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother ?? #33644.”

Fast forward to noon where reports are coming out of Calabasas, California. A helicopter crashed into a field, killing all nine passengers on board. Kobe Bryant, his 13-year old daughter Gianna, and seven others, died in that crash. The helicopter was en route to Mambacita Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for Gianna’s basketball game. 

The news shocked the basketball world. Bryant, for 20 years, dominated the NBA for the Lakers. Tributes to the fallen legend were all over Los Angeles, as fans were in mourning. The league honored Bryant through eight and 24-second violations, both numbers he wore while with the Lakers. 

The death of Bryant made basketball fans and former players reminisce about the good times, praising the “Mamba Mentality.” 

Bryant’s retirement ceremony on Feb. 24 showed a lot of raw emotion from the people that held Bryant dear to their hearts. Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan gave a speech about Bryant’s impact on his life.

“I am grateful to be here to honor Gigi and celebrate the gifts that Kobe gave us all. In the game of basketball, in life, as a parent – Kobe left nothing in the tank. He left it all on the floor,” Jordan said  

In the stands was fellow NBA legend point guard Allen Iverson. Iverson was wearing a shirt of Bryant holding the championship trophy that Kobe won against Iverson in the 2001 NBA Finals. A showing of genuine respect as a player that did not win a championship because of Bryant.  

“Kobe was truly a gifted and intelligent student of the game. I remember him saying, ‘These guys are playing checkers and I am out here playing chess,'” former teammate Shaquille O’Neal said. O’Neal did have a power struggle with Bryant in their time with the Lakers. Despite this, he respected Kobe’s endless devotion towards perfection in every aspect of his life.

Kobe Bryant Infographic by Max Berglind

Bryant left a lasting mark on the NBA and his fans. His “Mamba Mentality” inspired millions, including students at Metea. 

“Kobe definitely instilled a Mamba Mentality in me. His work ethic was very inspirational and has helped me a lot in anything I do,” senior Arvind Sesham said.

One of the hardest workers on his craft to ever walk the earth, Bryant was up at four am every morning working out or getting shots up at the gym. His work ethic and his routine are not only admirable, but inspiring to people every day.  Kobe Bryant once tore his achilles tendon and hit two free throws back in 2013.. These two minutes showed his resiliency after sustaining what could have been a career-ending injury.

Senior Titus Marzan touched on his favorite moment of Bryant. 

“My favorite Kobe moment was probably the shots he took after tearing his Achilles,” Marzan said. “After getting injured, he still shot his free throws. That goes back to the ‘Mamba Mentality’ he preaches because he simply could have walked off, but he owned up and shot those shots no matter what.”

Bryant had his glorious and legendary moments. Those included his 81 points in a game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006, to winning back-to-back championships without O’Neal.

“My favorite Kobe moment was his last game where he dropped 60 points against Utah. You knew he still had one final show in him,” Sesham said. 

Nobody else other than Bryant would end a career with that performance.


Over the years, fans have drawn comparisons to Bryant. People look for a player that works as hard as Bryant, plays the same way, or has the same impact on the city that he represents.

“Demar [DeRozan] 100 percent,” Sesham said. 

DeRozan recently became the first player in NBA history to sink two game-winning baskets on consecutive days. He channeled his inner Bryant on those shots. The shots brought nostalgic fans back to when Bryant netted a game-winning three-pointer to put the Lakers up 3-1 in a series against the Phoenix Suns. Throughout DeRozan’s career, he has worn Kobe Bryant’s signature shoe.

Which current player emulates Kobe the best? 

Marzan said, “A player that plays like Kobe the most is 100 percent Devin Booker. Especially in the bubble, he showed many flashes of Kobe’s greatness.”

Devin Booker made a game-winning shot over Clippers forward Paul George that almost put the Suns in the playoffs. He did it while mirroring a Kobe-esque fade away. 

After a shutdown from the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the NBA season, 22 of the 30 NBA teams made the trip to Orlando to compete in the NBA Bubble. The trip concluded with the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA championship. Their 17 in the franchise’s history and even honored Bryant after the series-clinching sixth game. 

Rest in peace and condolences to all the families involved in the tragedy on Jan. 26, 2020. Thank you, Kobe, for everything you have done and your lasting impact on the sport we all know and love.