Updated: Feb 16
written by: Dillon Isaac Oyst Quest Turnquist
One of the earliest memories in my life took place late in October 1996, I can still vividly remember my childhood living room, the mismatched couch and recliner with a glass coffee table and a TV in the corner. I was watching TV and my stepdad entered the room, took the controller from me and said, “Tonight we are watching the Laker game”. Little did I know, that would later become my favorite sentence. He turned the channel and the first thing I saw was a dark stadium with flashing purple and gold lights, and then I heard “From Little Rock Arkansas, point guard Deeeerek Fiiiisher”, followed by the introduction to my yet to be hero, “From Lower Merion Highschool, shooting guard Koooooobee Byraaant”. Instantly after that introduction, my Stepdad told me, “This kid is good, this kid will probably be your Magic”. Of course, I had no idea what he was talking about, and to be honest this memory might be a mismatch of many early memories, but I was four and this story is what has stuck in my mind
as a memory all these years later.
Instantly, I was enthralled with the sport, I had never seen anything like it, and I was hooked. The best part was I got to watch it with my stepdad, and at the time I looked up to him. He was my first hero. I literally wanted to be just like the guy, and that included loving the Lakers. Fast-forward to the year 2000 and my relationship with my stepdad, had completely changed. He was abusive, mentally and physically. He constantly called me stupid, never supported my interest in the arts. Still, to this day, I have PTSD when I hear my name, full cringe completely takes over my body. So, by 2000, the
only hero that I had, was Kobe. When I was feeling down, there was Kobe hitting a game shot lifting my spirits to an all-time high. However, three years later I was in for another heartbreak, another let down from another hero.
A few months after his controversy, he became a father, as well as the undisputed leader of the Lakers, and by the beginning of the 2007 season, you could tell that this Kobe was different from the one we had watched grow to this point. He had matured, he had a grasp on what life meant to him and he was on a mission to get back to the top of his craft and two years later he was there. My basketball idol was back on top, he was the champ again, but it was around this time that we started getting glimpses of his greatness off the court. In the 2008 Olympics, he took it upon himself to show the future of the NBA what it's like to be a leader, passing on the knowledge he had accumulated all these years.
The real display of the man he was, and the reason why he will forever be my hero, started the moment
after he said “Mamba Out”. Post-retirement Kobe spent so much time empowering the legitimacy of
women's basketball, and women athletics altogether. What he did in 2003 did not doom him, he used that same Mamba Mentality to put effort in to being the best man, father, and mentor he could be. The legacy of Kobe is that no mistake can define you if you put in the genuine effort to be better than you were the previous day.
Thank you Kobe for everything you have done, your legacy will truly last a lifetime.