The Black Mamba, Always and Forever: Recounting Our Favorite Kobe Bryant Moments
To remembering the NBA legend
It’s hard to believe it’s almost been a year since the loss of a legend. With good reason, the death of 18-time NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi is one tragedy that still weighs heavy. Basketball fan or not, the 26th of January ceases to be the same.
At the Kobe and Gianna Bryant memorial last February, Shaquille O’Neal said it best: “As we know, The Black Mamba’s legacy will be more than just being one of the best basketball players of all time. And believe me, Kobe was truly a gifted and intelligent student of the game.”
Ahead, we revisit our favorite Kobe Bryant moments caught on camera. Here’s to remembering the basketball legend, two-time Olympic gold medalist, philanthropist, doting husband and all-around amazing dad to Natalia, Gianna, Bianka and Capri.
When Kobe scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006
In a game that went down in NBA history, Kobe followed just Wilt Chamberlain (who scored 100 points in a single game in 1962) for the greatest scoring performance in the NBA.
When Natalia and Gigi joined Kobe at his NBA Championship postgame interview
He chatted with the media about winning the 2010 NBA finals with his two daughters in his arms.
This 1996 interview of getting to know Kobe, the second-youngest player to join the NBA at the time:
A laser-focused 18-year-old Kobe Bryant talked about deciding his plans after high school, growing up in Italy and always setting goals.
When Kobe was given the ESPY Icon Award
“I believe there’s time for resting at the end. But for me, that time is not now. Thank you for this tremendous honor acknowledging my basketball career, but I’m far from done. My next dream is to be honored one day for inspiring the next generation of athletes—to have a dream, sacrifice for it and never, ever rest in the middle.”
When Kobe gave a class presentation before declaring for the NBA draft
Another glimpse of Kobe in 1996 and the Mamba mentality in the making:
“I love having girls:” all the times Kobe raved about his daughters
While guesting at Jimmy Kimmel Live, he gushed about his daughters and talked about how his wife Vanessa wanted a boy more than he did.
When Kobe paved the way for the Lakers’ win against the Utah Jazz, his final game before retirement
Catch the clincher starting at the 09:34 mark. Meanwhile, watch his farewell speech at 14:20:
Kobe’s one-year death anniversary is a solemn reminder that he was gone too soon. But in many ways, and through his living legacies, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri, the legend lives on.