The Creation of an Icon.
It has now been a week since the tragic accident that took the lives of John, Kerri and Alyssa Artobelli, Sarah and Payton Chaser, Christina Mauser, Ara Zoboyan and Gianna Maria and Kobe Bryant. It was a shock to the world to hear the news, I personally did not believe on first exposure, it took the news of games at Mamba Academy being stopped for me to accept the painful truth. One of mine and the country’s idols was gone, the immortal Kobe Bryant will no longer be sitting courtside with his daughter and protege Gigi, and will not be able to spread his vast knowledge of the game anymore. It is a tough pill to swallow for sure, but there is no need to just think about the sadness of it all, as a people we must look at the good and be thankful for the time we had them. To help do that, I intend to review the Oscar-winning Dear Basketball, Kobe’s epitome of his basketball journey and the steps along the way.
On November 29, 2015, Kobe Bryant wrote a letter to the Players’ Tribune detailing his love for the game of basketball and all it had given him, but that at the time of writing it he was not able to keep going for much longer. He had given it his all and that from the age of six he had been in love with the game of basketball, so in love that he devoted himself to it completely. So in love that he vowed to be the best he could be, and he did exactly that. On April 23, 2016 Kobe Bryant played his final career game, dropping a vintage 60 points against the Utah Jazz and fittingly ending his Lakers and NBA career with a memorable “Mamba out.” A year after his final NBA points, Dear Basketball, the visualization of Kobe’s letter animated by Glen Keane, scored by John Williams and narrated by the Black Mamba himself, was released. Growing up the son of pro basketball player Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, Kobe was always near the game of basketball. In the short, he recalled how as a kid he would roll up his dad’s socks and reenact buzzer beaters on a trash can in the corner, that being where the first moments of the Black Mamba were. Kobe’s commitment from the beginning was one of pure love, one that could not be broken. One that he gave his all to, one that he never imagined anything else but being the best at. One where he “never saw the end of the tunnel, [he] only saw himself running out of one.” So from that point forward he always gave it his all, whatever the game asked for, he gave it more. That mentality and desire to win was what made Kobe a legend to everyone that witnessed him play. The mentality that won 5 titles, an MVP award, 15 All-NBA selections, and so much more. With many of the stories about his tenacity on and off the court seeming like myths, but the fact that so many of them were true showed how devoted he truly was. With that tenacity and love for excellence in basketball he inspired millions of kids, including myself, to pick up a basketball and try to replicate him. To try and hit that buzzer beater in the corner of the room with whatever they could find to shoot and yelling “KOBE!” as the imaginary clock hit 0.
But everything good must come to an end eventually, and Kobe could not escape time. The time finally came for the man people all over the world had watched for 20 seasons to retire, and he did it in style. So, that seemed like the end of Kobe’s story, but it was not even close. He had fostered the same love for the game in his second daughter, Gianna Maria, who was promptly nicknamed “Mambacita.” Gigi played with the same style and grace, it was like watching Kobe on the court again. As he inspired so many around the world, he had inspired his thirteen year old daughter as well. The story of Dear Basketball reached more people than Kobe ever would have imagined, and it stayed close to him as well. So in the end, Dear Basketball tells the story of a tenacious love, one that could not be hidden, not just for a sport but for life in general. This point is conveyed beautifully in Dear Basketball, with amazing animation and score that tells the condensed story of Kobe’s growth from the Philadelphia kid to one of the greatest players to ever touch the court. It was more than a game to him, it was a lifestyle, and the poetic nature of Kobe’s open letter gets that point across succinctly and effectively. Kobe does not need a lot of words to get his point across, because his point is so universal and well put that it is a perfect send off. Kobe never stopped loving the game and the game (and its fans) never stopped loving him either. Kobe was more than a player, he was an icon to so many, and he will live on forever. As Kobe said it best, “heroes come and go, but legends never die.” So use that Mamba mentality and cement yourself as a legend in what you love.
Dear Basketball is the short but sweet animation that tells the condensed story of the journey of Kobe “Bean” Bryant from a kid shooting socks in his room, to the Black Mamba that we all know and love. The animation is amazingly done and paired with the score completely immerses you in the story being told.
Favorite Quote- “You asked for my hustle, I gave you my heart because it came with so much more.”
My Final Score: A+
My deepest condolences and prayers go to everyone affected by the tragedy this past week. Many families were broken on that Sunday afternoon and they cannot be forgotten. To the Artobelli family, who lost mother and father Kerri and John along with their daughter Alyssa, they are survived by their son and daughter J.J. and Alexis Artobelli. To the Chaser family, who lost mother Sarah and daughter Payton as well, who are survived by father Chris and their two sons. The Mauser family, who is now without a mother and wife, Christina Mauser, and is survived by her husband Matt and their three young children. The Zoboyan family, who lost Ara Zoboyan, an experienced pilot that taught aspiring heli pilots to fly. And to the Bryant family, who lost father and husband Kobe and their daughter Gianna Maria, they are survived by wife and mother Vanessa and daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri Bryant. Rest in Peace to everyone who lost their lives and keep their families and friends in your thoughts and prayers.