Losing A Hero And A Role Model

Samantha Proia, Staff Writer

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Losing a Hero and Role Model

By Samantha Proia

After work I check my twitter like I always do, but one tweet in particular caught me off guard. It took my breath away, almost like I got hit by something out of nowhere.

It read “I can’t believe your gone. Rest in Paradise, Mamba.” 

I’m thinking to myself that someone just tweeted that to see if it would go viral. Moments later when I got home I saw on the news that it was speculated that Kobe Bryant was on that helicopter that crashed. All I thought to myself, I hope this isn’t true, it can’t be true. 

The detective in me kicked in and immediately. I started searching up and down through all news platforms to find out what had happened. I had given up in hopes of it not being true because I can’t bear to think another person I idolized had passed away.

An hour or two had passed and I turned on ESPN to see some breaking news regarding the speculation that Kobe had passed away and in that moment my fear had became a brutal and tragic reality.

 It said: NBA Legend Kobe Bryant died in Helicopter Crash.

I couldn’t even come to tears about it, I was refusing to believe the fact that it was actually confirmed. My mom came in to check on me only because she knew I used to idolize him and one other player. I couldn’t even respond to my mom about how I felt and that’s something to take note of, cause I’m never like that when it comes to deaths and sad things. All I could think was another person I looked up to is dead, it’s almost like I have bad luck with athletes and celebrities that I admire.

His death is a major shock to everyone, even if you have never watched one of his games. It hits home for me because even though I only played recreational basketball I would always watch his highlights. He always had great vision on the court and could make incredible shots and that’s what I aspired to be like in my rec league.

It’s hard to put into words how his wisdom and advice helped me overcome a lot of other things later on, even after I had left my days as a basketball player behind. He always stressed the idea of “Mamba Mentality”. It essentially is trying to be the best version of who you can be, and by facing other challenges in my life those two words were always on my mind and they never really left my mind.

Seeing my old basketball shoes made me think back to one of my final games and how with 2.4 seconds on the clock I had scored a buzzer beater, though my team had still fallen short of the win.I t was something I had always wanted to do and I finally did it, it felt euphoric and i had felt like I just conqured a mountain. 

I remember it like it happened yesterday. All of my team, the opposing team and everybody sitting in the bleachers went insane. The gym erupted in cheers and screams like they witnessed the comeback of the century.  

That moment doesn’t seem relevant but it is in a sense. Bryant’s idea of “Mamba Mentality” came into play because in that moment I was the best version of myself, I was the happiest I could ever be in that moment in time.

Since then, I’ve always tried to be the best version of myself and it’s all because of Kobe Bryant. His life and legacy is always gonna me remembered and carried out through his advice and his philosophy of having the “Mamba Mentality”.

I never got to meet you or see you play, but I wanted to thank you for all the incredible years in the NBA and to really thank you for your incredible wisdom and inspiring advice. It will never be forgotten.