Kobe Bryant passed away 20 months ago. But before doing so, he ensured that his memories will live on in millions of people’s lives.
There are people in all walks of life who represent excellence at what they do. Now basketball is a global passion and a global sport, so the best players tend to be more in the spotlight.
And the very best basketball players become household names across the globe. Some of them managed to define their own legacy beyond the sport. They’ve acted as motivators for people beyond those whom they’ve met.
Kobe Bryant exemplified that part of a basketball legend’s legacy better than anyone who’s ever lived. The Lakers legend bled basketball, typified basketball and acting as the sport’s emissary wherever he went.
The Mamba Mentality isn’t just something that sports fans or young players have adapted to their life. It’s a work ethic movement that Kobe has helped to take off from the ground up.
Mike Breen recalled a moving incident with a taxi driver from Beijing Olympics regarding Kobe Bryant
Kobe was easily the biggest basketball draw on the planet during the Beijing Olympics of 2008. Mike Breen was a commentator during the games in China.
Mike Breen was also in the booth for Knicks vs Nets just a day after the Lakers legend passed away. The entire broadcast revolved around stories from his playing days. Breen narrated one particularly striking incident regarding Kobe’s popularity:
“This was in Beijing. I had to take a taxi to go. We were set to go and talk with some of the Team USA players, and I had an NBA pullover on.”
“The taxi driver, who didn’t speak very good English, turned to me. He sort of pointed at me and said ‘NBA! NBA!’, and I said, ‘Yes, NBA’. Then he said ‘Kobe Bryant?’, I said yes, he’s playing for Team USA.”
“And then he asked me, again in broken English ‘You know Kobe Bryant?’ And I told him yes, that I knew Kobe Bryant. Then he pulled the cab over and started sobbing.”
“He was so overtaken and emotional that he met – not that he met Kobe Bryant. But he met someone that knew Kobe Bryant. I’ve never experienced that – it was such a big moment in his life to meet somebody who knew Kobe Bryant. And this is a guy who’s probably in his early 30s, and this showed me that this game had gone global.”
This incident truly does demonstrate just how much Kobe meant to people across the globe. And still continues to mean, 20 months after he passed away.