Yesterday, we were shocked by news of the passing of basketball legend, Kobe Bryant. Many media outlets broke the story with an air crash indicated as the cause of his demise. While basketball is not as popular as football in Nigeria, there are some ardent supporters of the game here. To celebrate the life of this legend, we asked 4 basketball fans what Kobe signifies to them.
Here’s what they had to say:
Victor says Kobe inspired him through his basketball days.
“Kobe is an inspiration, he’s the greatest sportsman to ever do it. When I was actively playing basketball in the sun and in the rain, I had a picture of him for inspiration. He had broken his hand yet he wore his jersey on top of his pajamas to go and train. For some reason, that photo stuck with me forever. Even though I no longer play, that memory will always stay with me as a reminder to always give my best.”
For Tosin, Kobe Bryant was her first introduction to the game.
“He’s an icon to me. The first time I saw a basketball match, it was a Lakers game and It was fascinating to observe his talent. I think what stuck the most for me apart from his skill was his off-court activities. He would show love to his family, he was versatile, he even had scholarships at one point. It was impressive to me that he was an all-round stand-up guy. As a result of that first experience, I still support the Lakers till today.”
Daniel cares about Kobe Bryant the writer and not the basketballer.
“I don’t like basketball but I love movies. He made a movie about his career titled “Dear Basketball”. I found it interesting that he said in an interview that “people try to put athletes into a box” and he’s not interested in labels. I was just blown away that he went ahead to win an Oscar for the film and this cemented to me that he was good at anything he put his mind to.”
Muyiwa says that beyond the game, we can all learn from his work ethic.
“He got into the big leagues at 18 and it’s super difficult to get in at such a young age. He kept on saying how great he would become and he proved it over and over again throughout his 20-year career. For me, I like people who talk and put in the work. He was notorious for playing through injuries and his training was hardcore. At every point in time, there are larger than life figures that drive a lot of people to watch basketball and he was one of those people for me.”