We’re back with day 11 of our #LiveCivilBMH series, where each day of this year’s Black History Month, we pay homage to a black man or woman who we appreciate. Today, we put the spotlight on an amazing individual whom we’ve grown to admire – the Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant.
At 37-years-old, the Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard has shattered records, overcome obstacles, earned respect, and now after 20 years and five NBA championships, Kobe Bryant will say goodbye to his first love at the end of this season: basketball.
Overall, the Philadelphia native’s career has been filled with accomplishments that can only ever be matched by a few players, and although there’s many accomplishments on his resume, we’ve narrowed it down to a few.
Back in 1997, Kobe was still the youngest player to ever play in the NBA, and at 18, he rocked the rim at the ‘97 Slam Dunk contest. Taking home the trophy that year, which also made him the youngest player to accomplish that feat.
Call him a chuck if you wish, but the bottom line is that the NBA star scored 81 points in one single game. The Black Mamba caught fire against the Toronto Raptors back in 2006, after scoring 26 points in the first half. Practically stealing the entire fourth quarter show, Bryant scored 28 of the team’s 31, leading the Lakers to 122-104 victory.
Continuing to build his dynasty, the 5-time champion became an Olympic Gold medalist in 2008 and 2012. Kobe & the U.S. defeated Spain and earned Olympic gold alongside Dwyane Wade in Beijing. What’s even better is that he accomplished the feat again in the summer of 2012 in London.
In addition to his efforts in basketball, Bryant is very much involved in helping those in need. The father of two and his wife have a foundation called “Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation,” where they aid in improving the lives of youth and families, both domestically and globally.
However, it all came down on November 29th of last year, when the MVP announced his retirement from basketball in a letter called “Dear Basketball.” Kobe detailed his love for the game, but mentioned that it was time for him to part ways from his first love. Words can’t express how much we’ll miss the Mamba’s presence.
All love and appreciation for Kobe Bryant who to this day is known as one of the best NBA players of all time. Thank you Black Mamba, and Happy Black History Month!