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The Sanpete Messenger

A tribute to a great player-Kobe Bryant

 

A tribute to a great player-Kobe Bryant

 

By Matt Harris

Staff writer

1-30-2020

 

One of the most shocking and unexpected tragedies in the history of professional sports occurred last weekend as an unexplained helicopter crash claimed the lives of nine people, one of them being NBA legend Kobe Bryant at the age of 41.

Bryant was three years into his retirement from the NBA and just getting started on a multitude of personal and family endeavors. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who was often called GiGi, died with him in the crash.

Bryant’s career in the NBA spanned 20 years from 1996 to 2016. He won five NBA titles and was the league MVP in 2008. He was an NBA All-Star 18 times.

Bryant’s last game of his career was against the Utah Jazz in Los Angeles. Despite battling numerous injuries and averaging just over 17 points per game, Bryant turned in a 60-point performance and a clutch win to end his illustrious career.

Bryant’s career eclipsed the lives of all players currently in our high schools today. In tribute, the following quotes were provided to the Messenger by head basketball coaches in Sanpete to give tribute to one of the most influential NBA stars of our time:

 

“Kobe is a household name to basketball players. His toughness and work ethic was incredible. I believe there are players you want to see play in each generation, and I am glad to say I watched Kobe play.” Cris Hoopes, North Sanpete Boys’ Basketball.

 

“It was Kobe’s fierce competitiveness and drive that I admired most. He had the look of determination every time he stepped on the court.” Melissa Sorensen, Gunnison Valley Girls’ Basketball.

 

“Kobe went into the league as I was about to go into high school. Even though I cheered against him most of his career, it did not keep me from admiring his dedication to his craft. I learned about and from Kobe on multiple occasions because of his knowledge of the game and more important his desire to be the absolute best. Kobe not only wanted to be the best but he worked harder than his competitors to make sure he was the best. Those were the attributes of Kobe that I learned from and admired. He will be missed in the basketball world.” Devin Shakespear, Manti Boys’ Basketball.

 

“I grew up a huge fan of Michael Jordan, so when a young kid out of high school said that he would be as good or better than Michael Jordan it seemed almost offensive. Fast forward a few years, and he continued to show that he was the most competitive and out playing everyone. His impact on the NBA today and his competitive nature transcended the NBA in the 2000s. More importantly his impact on all things basketball. “Mamba Mentality” will be synonymous with a competitive edge and winning mentality and will be talked about when these high schoolers are grandparents.” Brennon Schweikart, Manti Girls’ Basketball.

 

“His impact on basketball is as large an impact of any player that has played. He inspired so many players of his generation. He taught and lived discipline and hard work. His attention to detail within the game is as good as it gets. The world lost an incredible person and player. Feel so terrible for his wife and family with the loss of Kobe and Gigi. Heartbreaking.” David Evans, Wasatch Academy Boys’ Basketball.

 

“The aspect of Kobe’s legacy that has impacted me the most was his competitive drive which came to be known as his “Mamba Mentality.” Kobe was an unbelievable talent, but I believe he was an even greater competitor, which for me was his most impressive attribute, and the greatest separator between him and other great players. This drive/mentality is what separated Jordan from everyone else in the era prior to Bryant’s, and then Kobe came along and he was cut from the same cloth as MJ. The drive to not only be the best he could be, but to be “the best ever.” Kobe was and is a great father to his girls and I loved seeing him and his late daughter GiGi attend games together. It’s a tragic day for the world of sports, and it makes you appreciate life and puts things into perspective. It definitely has for me.” Mike Russell, Snow College Women’s Basketball.