More Than An Athlete

The unfortunate death of inspirational basketball player Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and 7 others has stunned society across the globe. They were taken to soon but live on in us forever


Liberty students reflected on social media about the impact Kobe Bryant had on their lives as the terrible news of his death released.

Jaxin Osinski, Reporter

In the hills of Calabasas, California on Jan 26, Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others passed away in a helicopter crash. This is a surreal event that is impacting millions worldwide. 

Kobe was one of the greatest basketball players of all-time winning five championships, being an 18-time all-star, and many more accomplishments on the court. His actions off the court are what made him great. Kobe’s mentorship to young athletes is what sets him apart. He taught people how to love what they do and how to perfect their craft.

He has shaped the next generation of athletes around hard work and dedication. He did what he did for more than just himself. He really focused on showing his teammates and important people around him the game the way he saw it. He was always looking to make the people around him better. He set the bar of excellence so high that people that looked up to him had no choice but to aim for that bar.

Several members of the Liberty varsity basketball team and students across the school reflected on what Kobe meant to them.

“He impacted and inspired me to work harder and never be satisfied with average,” junior Gabe McCrary said.

Family was the most important thing to Kobe. He approached things the way he did to set an example for his four girls. The bar he set for his family was very high and he expected excellence because he had shown them the core values to being a special person. Now stepping away from the game of basketball was very hard, but Kobe’s family came first and he knew it was right for them. Since then he has grown to become an extraordinary father, husband, and mentor. He continually posts videos or pictures of him and his family doing stuff all with huge smiles on their faces.

Kobe was close with all his girls, but he had a special bond with 13-year-old Gianna. Her passion for basketball allowed Kobe to show her the path and teach her the game. Everyone wanted Kobe to have a son but he didn’t need one because Gianna was a star. The determination and hard work of Kobe came out in Gianna when she was on the floor and it was spectacular. Kobe just loved being with his family whether it was coaching a basketball team or playing with stuffed animals. It didn’t matter to him as long as they were together with smiles on their faces. 

“Kobe valued his kids in a way that I hope I can as an adult. He has faith and confidence in his family. He didn’t want a son because he trusted his daughters to carry on the dynasty,” junior Carson Petty said.

Now Kobe was the athlete that did all the extra stuff. He was the guy that would be at the gym at 4 in the morning before practice started getting extra work. He was never satisfied with where he was and he was always looking to grow. Whether it was when he was the NBA champion in 2009 or when the Lakers were one of the worst teams in basketball in 2015, Kobe was always looking for ways to improve his game.

He never made excuses for why he couldn’t do things. There was a time earlier in his career when he broke his wrist on his shooting hand. So instead of sitting out, he shot free throws left-handed to work on his shot. The man just never gave up and fully dedicated himself to the game of basketball. He embraced challenges and used them to get better. He showed athletes what it is truly like to fall in love with your craft because everything he did was with a smile on his face while having fun.  

“He inspired me to seek failure and to bounce back from failure by learning from it and continuing to grow,” said sophomore Elliot Cowell.  

Kobe is one of the greatest athletes of all time. He paved the way for the next generations for athletes showing them what they need to do to be great. He has inspired millions while entertaining us for 20 years. The way he treated his family makes us all hug our loved ones a little bit harder. There will never be another Kobe and we will always be grateful for him. It is terrible to see him go so soon but at least he was with his amazing daughter. Gianna had her whole life ahead of her but she was already a superstar. Kobe, Gianna, and the other victims will stay in our hearts and the Mamba Mentality lives on forever.