By: Lucas Kochevar
Anyone that knows me has an idea that I love to wear and collect jerseys. With all good collections, you have to start somewhere. With my basketball jerseys the purple and gold 24 that read "Bryant" on the back was my start into loving the sport of basketball. Kobe Bryant was my generations Michael Jordan. There is the common story everyone is sharing of them in their driveway practicing shots that Kobe made routinely. This same story can be made for myself. I remember in the early 2010's being in my driveway counting down "3...2...1..," and fading away with a jump shot. I know for a fact I never looked nearly as good as Kobe did shooting that same shot, but I wanted to resemble his greatness. That's what he was - Greatness.
He wasn't just a basketball player either, he was an icon. He was the embodiment of hard work and taking what you love and being engulfed in it. He did this with everything in his life from basketball to winning an academy award to being a dad. Seeing the countless videos of him in a gym and reading the stories about him can only make you appreciate his work ethic. As I grow older, I can only hope to have 1/2 of his drive and motivation. It seems crazy to think that someone that I have never met would have this type of impact on me.
I think one reason this is hitting hard is because Kobe wasn't the only one affected. Sadly, his daughter, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, 13, was also with him. It hurts because you know that she had so much life ahead of her and the sky was the limit. She had an energy that made you believe she would have taken on the world head on. The others involved should not be forgotten either. John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and his daughter Alyssa. Christina Mauser. Sarah Chester and daughter Payton. Ara Zobayan. The thoughts and prayers are with these that are affected.
As I finish this, I don't want to just mourn the death of Kobe, but I want to celebrate his life. He was one of the most inspiring human beings and I can hope that he is at peace now.