I'll never forget where I was when I heard the news. At first, I thought it was a joke. Thinking TMZ put out a preposterous headline to grab clicks. As more people confirmed the story, I remember looking at my mom in the car with total disbelief.
We're here one year later, and it still doesn't feel real. As people continue to share stories and highlights on social media, you truly remember how special he really was. I don't need to have analytics nerds telling me, "Well technically, he's the 16th best player of all time according to his blah, blah, blah". When you watched him, he had IT. There was no player on the court more confident than him. He looked every opponent in the eyes, knowing he was better than them.
What's even more impressive is what he did post-career. Only Kobe can retire from basketball and immediately reach the top of the mountain in another profession.
On top of his production company, he was a key investor in Body Armour, a New York Times bestselling author, launched the Mamba Sports Academy, along with many other ventures.
The accolades go on and on like a CVS receipt, but it only tells half the story. Kobe was much more than stats and awards. There are only a select few athletes that can match his intensity. He's in the rare class of athletes like Brady, LeBron, and Jordan.
RIP to Kobe, Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christina Mauser, and Ara Zobayan.
As Kobe still inspires hoopers to this day, there will never be another Black Mamba.
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