At press time it’s 8/24, which means it’s Kobe Bryant Day. It is the one day of the year that includes the two numbers Kobe wore during his Hall of Fame career. Kobe Bryant is possibly one of the greatest NBA players of all-time and the greatest Laker ever. Two jersey numbers in the rafters at the STAPLES Center prove it. Kobe was able to take over games in ways that not many players could.
His drive to win at any cost helped him succeed on and off the court. An 18-time NBA All-Star, five-time NBA champion and one-time NBA MVP, Kobe tragically passed away on January 26, 2020. In 2016 the city of Los Angeles actually declared 8/24 as ‘Kobe Bryant Day’ after his final season with the Lakers. Kobe would have turned 43 years old on August 23.
Kobe’s genuine curiosity for life was one of the most amazing gifts he had. Kobe loved asking questions, knowing more about people, places and things he wasn’t familiar with. He often engaged with complete strangers to their amazement as if they were close friends.
Some of the most touching and heartfelt tributes to Kobe after his passing came from people who had met him just once, often for just a few minutes, years ago.
Arash Markazi shared one of these stories in his Morning Column on August 23. Markazi referenced a memorable story from ESPN anchor Elle Duncan, who met Kobe one time, for 30 minutes backstage at an ESPN event in New York, two years earlier. Duncan remembers simply wanting to get a picture with Kobe for her Instagram. She was eight months pregnant at the time and as she walked up to Kobe, he beamed and asked her, “How are you? How close are you? What are you having?” When Duncan replied a girl, Kobe, who had four girls, high-fived her and said, “Girls are the best… I would have five more girls if I could. I am a girl dad.”
“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.” – Kobe Bryant
For Kobe, there was life after basketball. At the end of the day, regardless of our professions our goal should be to inspire people around us to discover what they are truly great at and help them live out their passion.