Remembering The Black Mamba: QU students react to Kobe Bryant’s death

Picture of Bryant courtesy CNN

By Shane Hulsey

Five-time NBA champion. Two-time finals MVP. Eighteen-time all-star. Eleven-time all-NBA first team.

These accolades only begin to scratch the surface of the impact Kobe Bryant made on this earth.

The basketball world—the whole world, even—went into a state of shock Sunday when the news broke that Bryant had died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The shock only escalated when authorities determined Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was among the eight others killed in the crash.

The Black Mamba’s impact will be felt everywhere, including at Quincy University.

“I was completely shocked,” sophomore Chris Connolly said. “He’s a childhood icon that I grew up watching. I honestly just can’t believe he’s dead. I can’t count how many times when I was a kid when I would be in class and would yell, ‘KOBE!’ and shoot that piece of paper in the trash can. Like what are the kids going to yell now?”

Sophomore Anthony Touhy had a similar reaction.

“The first thing I thought of was that it was just so sad,” he said. “Kobe was a guy I really looked up to as a kid. He was the guy who would be playing in these big games and he was just that guy. And he just had such a huge impact on everyone around him, on and off the court.”

Kobe was the ultimate competitor. His tireless work ethic was his calling card and helped him become one of the most feared basketball players ever.

The Mamba Mentality has inspired and driven countless people across the globe, including QU football player Jonas Filer, to pursue their passions with a relentless tenacity.

“He had that killer instinct,” Filer said. “I read his book (The Mamba Mentality: How I Play), and I try to base my mentality off of his. He was a big inspiration to me playing sports. I just try to think like him.”

When we think of superstar athletes like Kobe, we paint these pictures of them as if they are these untouchable specimens capable of doing extraordinary things most everyday people would only dream of doing.

But they are only people, just like the rest of us.

They have families, children, siblings, mothers, fathers, just like the the rest of us. Sure, they can dunk a basketball or run a 4.4-second 40-yard dash, but at the end of the day, they are people, just like the rest of us.

Three children are without their father and sister, a wife without her husband and daughter, a mother and father without their son.

Sunday was a sad day, not just in the sports world or Los Angeles, but the entire world.

“It’s just really sad that it had to be like this,” Filer said. “A legend gone too soon.”

Sunday was a dark day, a punch in the gut. It reminds us of one thing, though. As scary as it may sound, we never know when will be the last time we say ‘I love you,’ wave goodbye, or hug our loved ones.

They’re our loved ones for a reason. Tell them you love them, or better yet, show them you love them. You never know when it will be your last chance to do so.

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