July 21, 2024

(My daughter Noelle was an avid fan of Kobe Bryant. When her idol passed away, she asked that she be allowed to write this Sunday’s column.)
Kobe was known for his veracity on the court, his unceasingly intense desire for winning, and drive to be the best at all costs. When it came to basketball, he was the epitome of mind over matter. He’s shown this to us countless times, when he won back-to-back rings even if the doubters thought he couldn’t without Shaq by his side, when he shot two free throws with a ruptured Achilles, when he played with a broken finger, and when he scored a whopping 60 points at his last game before retirement. Nothing could stop him.
But to me, Kobe was more than just an amazing basketball athlete. Being a fan of Kobe was rooted in my love for the game and my admiration for his talent and grace. But as time went by, Kobe’s significance in my life transcended basketball. What I admired most about him was his mindset that I strived to make my lifestyle. His greatness can be attributed to this mindset, and I believe that is precisely what is the foundation of his legacy, it’s the Mamba Mentality.
The Mamba Mentality is Kobe’s biggest contribution in my life and one of my biggest sources of inspiration. The Mamba Mentality is, in Kobe’s words, “the constant quest to try to be the best version of yourself.” And it is about “focusing on the process and trusting in the hard work when it matters most.” The Mamba Mentality channels everyone’s competitive spirit and inspires people to work hard and be the best that they can be.
Kobe is one of the biggest reasons I am where I am today. The Mamba Mentality is something that I tried to channel within myself all throughout the struggles of my life. During the days where I felt like things were beyond my control and the everyday grind started to eat away at my self-esteem and my mental toughness, I would always remind myself of this mindset. It was a source of strength. I had to trust the process and my hard work, and it got me here. Fortunately, I am now awaiting my graduation from my dream law school in June this year.
Many say that Kobe’s legacy is complex, that honoring his death is complicated. For me, honoring Kobe’s death and respecting his legacy is the easiest thing I’ve ever had to do.
If there’s anything Kobe’s life and death has taught us, it is that we are all only humans. When a great man dies, it is unjust for us to only look at his greatness. Kobe was charged with sexual assault in 2003 and it was one of, if not the darkest point in his career, never to be forgotten. I will not disregard his flaws because his shortcomings as a person are what made him human. It is in his imperfections where Kobe found his greatness in his ability to learn and grow from his mistakes. I feel that it is important to remember that if we look at Kobe’s flaws, we also have to look at his redemption and growth.It would be unfair and inhumane to do otherwise.
One of the things that people loved about Kobe is that he was a great father to his four daughters and had a very special relationship with each one of them. It always reminds me of my relationship with my father and how I have always considered myself a daddy’s girl and I’m extremely proud of it. I have a very special relationship with my dad and he has always been my golden standard in life and in law. He inspires me so much, even more than Kobe does.
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate my Papa, who is “sometimes” the vice mayor of his beloved hometown Narvacan, Ilocos Sur. He is full-time my mentor, my Papa, and my idol.
Last Friday, he was given the Father Jose Burgos award by the province of Ilocos Sur. It is the highest award of recognition given by the province for its outstanding sons and daughters. Even if my Papa insists that at his age he has no need for awards anymore, we know he deserves it and we are proud and happy for him. It may in fact be long overdue. In many ways my dad has lived the Mamba Mentality even before it came into being.
As I grieve for the loss of Kobe, I remind myself that his greatness lives on in the impact he had on all of us and how we channel the Mamba Mentality in our everyday lives. The number 24 lives on in the way we spend all the hours that are given in a day, striving to be the best that we can be.
Thank you, Papa and Kobe, for getting me here. Mamba Mentality, always.