In our eyes- who Kobe Bryant was to us

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant is greeted by young fans wearing his jersey as he comes onto the floor before the NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors  in Los Angeles, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. Bryant is expected to make his long-awaited return from a torn left Achilles tendon injury from April 12th. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

AP

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant is greeted by young fans wearing his jersey as he comes onto the floor before the NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors in Los Angeles, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. Bryant is expected to make his long-awaited return from a torn left Achilles tendon injury from April 12th. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

By now we’ve all heard, talked, and thought a lot about the tragedy of a helicopter crash in Los Angeles that killed 9 victims including Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna or Gigi.

It hasn’t really settled in yet, and it won’t for awhile.  Every time I hear about it, I tell myself “Really, Kobe Bryant?  The Kobe Bryant?” cause it just doesn’t seem real.  Just the night before everyone was reminiscing about Kobe as LeBron passed him on the all-time scoring list, and not even 24 hours later, Kobe was gone, just like that.

The last time a sports icon of this magnitude passed away, it was Muhammad Ali.  The world mourned and we did as well as kids in middle school, but we never really fully grasped how much Ali meant to the world because we were too young.  We weren’t around long enough to witness his impact.  This passing hits us, as teenagers, a little bit harder because Kobe was one of the superstars that we grew up with as kids.  I was in second grade when he won his 4th championship in 2009, before winning another one the next year.  He made the All-Star team every year from 2000-2016.  To put that into perspective, Kobe was on every all-star team since I was born until he retired.  We might have been too young to remember the #8 Kobe, but we grew up with the superstar that wore #24.

For that reason, Kobe had a big influence on us.  One of his best skills was his ability to motivate and inspire, and as kids who saw him as a superhero, he motivated and inspired young basketball fans that are now teenagers.  He was the reason some of you basketball fans played basketball in the first place or the reason you did one more rep in the weight room or studied for that extra hour.  Kobe is considered a great father, and maybe he got those father skills because he helped raise millions of kids across the world with his inspiration.

You see, Kobe’s teachings are so much more than basketball.  If you utilize his hard work, hunger, and determination, aka the mamba mentality, success will find you.  This one is going to sting for awhile.  There are many legends for each sport, but there are only a few icons, and Kobe was absolutely one of them.  Kobe might be gone-something I never thought I would have to type-but his inspiration that was put into our generation, it lives on with his legacy, and that will live on forever, for the next generation and the generations to come after that.