The last cowboy on western basketball

It isn't easy to talk about death. Worse when the departure happens too soon. Even worse when it is about a man that grew to be an icon. A legend. You could say that he became bigger than the game itself.

Kobe Bryant, the Black Mamba. Everyone, all over the world, heard this name. Nothing about him was ordinary. He got in the NBA directly from high school, won five NBA championships (2000, 2001 e 2002, 2009, and 2010), won the gold medal in the 2008 and the 2012 Olympics and, last but not least, scored merely 33 643 points in his entire career, making him the 4th all-time top scorer in the NBA. He even won an Oscar!

Despite all of this, what distinguished Kobe from the rest was his work ethics. With his mentality and his drive, he was unstoppable. The admiration he had for Michael Jordan was his motivation to improve every day and to become an even better player than his idol. He took his moto so seriously that once, even if severely injured, he insisted on taking the free throws himself to help the team. 

Bryant named himself Black Mamba after watching Quentin Tarantino's movie Kill Bill. In that film, so that you know, the mamba snake referred to deadly assassins. He lived by the Mamba mentality: "it's all about focusing on the process and trusting the hard work when it matters most". He believed "hard work outweighs talent - every time."

More than the records, he lives on behind a philosophy. He was a reference to not just athletes but also to people from the most diverse areas. As a tribute to him, the Lakers retired Bryant's jersey numbers, 8 and 24. He is the first player to have jersey numbers taken out in his honour.

His death was unforeseen and a disaster and left a tremendous void, not only to basketball but for the entire sports world at large. You'll be missed, Mamba!