Sunday, January 26, thousands of people woke up to the tragic news of the death of an NBA legend and hero to many, Kobe Bryant. Kobe was an inspiration to many, especially to lots of students and faculty on campus and people in our community. Communities around us are coming together and honoring him in different ways.
According to local junior basketball student, Mario Ramos of A.B Miller High School, who is related to a student on our campus, their J.V basketball away game on Tuesday, January 28 took a 24-second violation in honor of their basketball idol. The whole team came together and made this decision because of how much Kobe meant to each player.
Ramos said, “Some refs were really mad that we did this and thought it was stupid, but I personally wish we could do more. I grew up watching Kobe and he was more than a basketball player to me.”
The impact Kobe has left is worldwide. Communities all over are doing whatever they can to bring light to Kobe. Fontana lit up there ‘Fontana’ sign purple and yellow, Mariachi players from all around Los Angeles joined together to play in front of the Staples Center to honor Kobe and the eight others, buildings all over the world are lighting up with the Lakers colors and so much more.
CSUSB athletics lead broadcaster, Ernesto Madrigal-Rodriguez who grew up watching Kobe live and admired him deeply remarked that “Kobe was a player who transcended the game, his style of play was emulated in all local parks across the world.” Rodriguez remembered Kobe’s triumphs and used them to inspire his own victories.
“Kobe really taught me and made me believe that I could truly accomplish anything in life, all I had to do is put in the work. Dare I say I wouldn’t have made it this far in my studies and in my career had it not been for Kobe. He inspired me to want to be great,” said Rodriguez.
Just as much as students are affected so are our faculty. Professor Christopher Fleischman also mourned this shocking loss. As a professor, he expressed how he’s witnessed the mourning of students through class discussions or those who’ve reached out privately.
“One of the classes I have the pleasure of teaching involves semiotic analysis, and we often analyze the underlying ideological significance in various signs of popular culture. Though excruciating, losing a sports legend like Kobe Bryant gives us a painful opportunity to reflect upon this question of cultural significance and how these individuals come to mean so much to so many people,” said Fleischman.
But that’s not the only aspect of this situation that ties our community together. Kobe had a famous slogan, ‘Mamba Mentality.’ As Fleischman put it, “It reflected unwavering work ethic or the idea that an athlete, like a fine wine, might actually improve with age, Kobe shaped his own cultural mythology with these symbolic understandings of his identity and the significance of the game held for him.”
Rodriguez recalled, “In my later years what I really took from Kobe was the famous Mamba Mentality.”
This mentality was a worldwide-movement. The strive he had to succeed was like no other and many of us students on campus take that mamba mentality and use it towards our own victories. We take it every day to help motivate ourselves to do more and push ourselves to be the best version of ourselves. This way of thinking has helped so many students continue to push forward with school, work, and so much more, just like Kobe did. People change their lives to be like Kobe. A legend like him does not leave without leaving the legacy he did.
His success was left on and off the court. His accomplishments are endless, from succeeding in sports, being a motivation to thousands, and being a tremendous #girldad as he would put it.
Fleischman expressed, “I grieve for all of the families who now have to navigate the new normal of immense loss, and I join my fellow basketball fans on campus, in Southern California, and around the world in grieving the loss and celebrating the life of this Laker legend, the Mamba, the #girldad.”
“Life is short, this is a prime example. Always do what you love and like Kobe, give it one hundred percent,” said Rodriguez.
In the words of Kobe, “Mamba out.”