I’ll never forget where I was, how I was, and what I was doing when I got the news. I was just getting up from my bed. Heavy eyes, still sleepy as always. I looked up to the clock and realized it was 6.14 AM.
In my 21 years of living, I had never mourned, grieved, and cried as hard as I did in January 27, 2020. Indeed, there were several emotional moments in my life where it was highly emotional. But never this emotional.
Never this devastated.
It’s now 10 minutes past midnight, and yet it still doesn’t feel real. It’s one of the days where everything just feels like a bad dream. You know, the kind of feeling you get when you’re having a nightmare and you keep running, you keep reaching to the end of the tunnel.
You keep on wishing that it was all just a dream, it was just a nightmare and things will go back to normal. For most of the times, things do go back to normal.
Words got out. Millions of tweets were sent within hours. Flowers, candles, tears. Official statements were being made by the authorities. 24 retired. Many players had a career night to honor the memory of Bean.
It’s hard to admit, but I was in denial for a good 5-10 minutes. I kept mouthing “Oh My God” repeatedly until I was lost at words. There’s no way that it was the Black Mamba.
If you told me to list 10,000 people that might die from a helicopter crash in California today, Kobe would be the last one on the list.
Kobe was just too big to fail, man.
He was an icon to millions of people. A basketball great. A sports legend. An exemplary and loving father. Anyone who watched Kobe knew how influential Kobe was to the culture. Kobe was too big to fail. Kobe couldn’t die. Hell, Kobe shouldn’t die.
He was much more than just a basketball icon. Kobe was an inspiration. He was a motivation. Kobe would always emphasize on what it means to adopt a “Mamba Mentality”.
Mamba mentality is all about attacking your opponent or challenge with no provocation. Having Mamba mentality means that you don’t wait for your opponent to be ready, for things to be perfect as you desire in order to attack.
Mamba means you’re a straight killer with sheer will to destroy your opponent/challenge no matter what it takes, and that’s how Kobe approached the game every night for 20 straight years.
You know what’s the beauty for all this?
You don’t have to play basketball to actually understand what it actually means. You can be an entrepreneur, a photographer, an accountant, a consultant, a banker, and you can still apply that “Mamba Mentality” to everything that you do.
Mamba mentality is not an unique mantra only reserved for Basketball fans. It’s all about leaving everything you have on the floor, regardless of the result that it might occur.
You may succeed, you may fail, but above all you will leave the court with no regret because you know you’ve tried to the best of your ability to become the best version of yourself.
Strange, isn’t it?
Most of us never met Kobe. Kobe didn’t even knew us personally. Yet, there are millions out there who suffer pain as bad as it is to lose a close family member. Yet, upon hearing the news, I locked my room and cried harder than anytime I can remember in the last 21 years as if I just lost my parents.
I never thought that the death of an athlete would leave such a big hole in my heart. I never thought that my chest would feel so much pain over someone that I didn’t even knew personally.
I kept asking for the real reason, asking myself about the pain that I was feeling. What happened? How come?
I think I know the answer:
It’s because Kobe has touched my soul.
As beautiful as it is, basketball is just a game and a platform. Of course, winning is indeed important but there’s more to life than basketball.
We knew Kobe was an extraordinary basketball player and one of the greatest to ever do it. But Kobe was special not only because how good he was on the court, it was because his work ethic, focus, and consistency that separate him from good to great.
It was his Mamba mentality that got millions of people hooked and decided to put some work in. It was his fearless and never-give-up attitude that moved so many people to be brave whether it is for themselves or those they love.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve cried more than 10 different times this day and I’m just exhausted. I’m emotionally drained from all the tears I’ve shed today.
This is it for me. I’m done grieving for Kobe. I’m tired of crying and secretly wishing for Kobe to come back. He’s not coming back, and we should be glad that he’s now in a better place with his angel Gianna.
I want to respect Kobe. I want to carry on his legacy and mindset to everything I’ll do in my life. I promise not to wait for anyone’s approval to chase what I want. I promise that whatever it is that I want to achieve, be it career or relationship, I will chase it with full determination and laser-like focus.
You know, with Mamba mentality, just like how Kobe would’ve wanted…
Rest In Paradise, Mamba.
Rest In Paradise, Gianna.
Rest In Paradise, other 7 passengers of the helicopter.