Kobe Bryant: We Miss You
Disclaimer: Kobe Bryant is not affiliated with Accel Business Funding. However, because the NBA season has restarted and we are long time fans of the late Kobe Bryant, we wanted to say a few words.
It’s hard to believe that it has only been around 7 months since Kobe passed away. With all that has been going on in the world, 7 months feels like a lifetime ago.
Kobe’s death shook the world. Not just the United States. The whole world. For the modern generation of NBA players and fans alike, Kobe was the Michael Jordan of their era. His influence permeated both on and off the basketball court. How many times have you thrown trash and yelled “Kobe”? At some point in our lives, we have all tried to imitate Kobe’s iconic fadeaway shot.
The 41 year old left an unparalleled legacy in the NBA. Let’s take a look at some of his achievements:
Youngest player ever to start in an NBA game
Kobe still holds the record for being the youngest player ever to start in an NBA game. He was 18 years old in his debut NBA game, which took place in January 1997. As if that was not impressive enough already, barely a year later, he became the youngest player to feature in an All-Star game. Yes, he went up against the formidable Michael Jordan.
Youngest player to score 33,000 points cumulatively
Only 4 players have ever scored 33,000 points cumulatively. Yet, Kobe did it earlier than the others at the age of 37.
Most points scored in a single game of the modern NBA era
In January 22, 2006, the Lakers played against the Raptors and Kobe scored an impressive 81 points in that game. History was made.
Most seasons played with a single franchise
For the entirety of his 20-year NBA career, he played with the Lakers.
Other career highlights include:
— 5-time NBA champion (2000-2002, 2009, 2010)
— NBA MVP (2008)
— 2-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (2009–2010)
— 18-time NBA All-Star (1998, 2000–2016)
— 4-time NBA All-Star Game MVP (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011)
— 11-time All-NBA First Team (2002–2004, 2006–2013)
— 2-time All-NBA Second Team (2000–2001)
— 2-time All-NBA Third Team (1999, 2005)
But what made Kobe so iconic beyond his NBA records was his unparalleled work ethic. According to a Team USA trainer, Kobe once held a workout from 4:15am until 11am and refused to leave until he had made 800 shots.
Former Lakers head coach Bryon Scott recalls that he saw 18-year old Kobe practicing shooting in the dark 2 hours before the actual practice.
"I came in one time, and we were still playing at the Fabulous Forum, and I heard the ball bouncing. No lights were on. Practice was at about 11, it was probably about 9, 9:30. And I go out to the court and I look, and there's Kobe Bryant. He's out there shooting in the dark. And I stood there for probably about ten seconds, and I said, 'This kid is gonna be great' ... I knew this kid was gonna be special."
Source: Business Insider
Former Lakers teammate John Celestand noted that Kobe was always the first one at the gym, even when he was hurt.
“As I walked through the training room, I became stricken with fear when I heard a ball bouncing. No, no, it couldn’t be! Yes it could. Kobe was already in a full sweat with a cast on his right arm and dribbling and shooting with his left.”
Source: John Celestand
There are countless stories of Kobe’s superhuman work ethic and it truly was inspiring to see how disciplined he was in his approach to basketball. Even in his final game for the Lakers, he scored an impressive 60 points. He did not let age and previous injuries encumber him.
Kobe undeniably had a larger than life presence and helped to popularize basketball across the globe. It’s easy to see why he inspired so many: the world witnessed him pursuing his childhood dream relentlessly and achieving his hopes and dreams. Very few professional basketball players will ever reach his level of his greatness and influence.
Kobe, we love you and we miss you. As you once said, “heroes come and go, but legends are forever”.
Rest in peace, Black Mamba.