Black Mamba Forever: Our Favorite Kobe Bryant Memories


NBA legend Kobe Bryant died on Jan. 26, 2020. (Courtesy Vimeo)


The sports world stopped on Sunday afternoon when it was reported that one of the best in the game, Kobe Bryant, had passed away in a helicopter crash. Kobe’s 13-year old daughter Gianna, who was in the helicopter with her dad, also died. The other victims of the crash included Gianna’s teammates and their parents.

Here at The Daily Utah Chronicle, we wanted to honor Bryant by remembering some of our favorite moments from his illustrious career, as well as the things he did post-basketball.


Sammy Mora

Growing up, I was around the Lakers whenever I was with my grandpa. He was a die-hard Lakers fan and would stay with the team through the highs and lows. I remember watching Lakers games with him and seeing Kobe go off. And while I don’t recall witnessing a specific moment of Bryant’s fantastic career, I will always remember watching him play with my grandpa. While my dad and I are not Lakers or Jazz fans, I remember watching Bryant’s final game and just feeling like that moment was special  — and boy was it. Something else I will remember him for is the support he had for women in basketball and women in sports across the board. I feel that this video of Bryant talking about his daughter, Gianna, speaks for itself.

Ryker Jackson

When I was first getting into basketball, the Jazz was awful, which still didn’t stop me from being a big fan. I watched every game and hoped that maybe if five to ten variables worked out, we could make the playoffs. I remember a few select teams I never wanted to play — the Spurs, the Heat and the Lakers. The Spurs because of Tim Duncan, the Heat because of LeBron James and the Lakers because of Kobe Bryant. Even among that select group, the player that seemed to always get the best of us was Bryant. No matter what the Jazz did, we couldn’t stop him. He always seemed to manage to score at least 40 points against us. I dreaded playing the Lakers because of him. I still remember watching the Jazz beat the Lakers for the first time and it being unbelievable — because we had finally beaten Bryant. He was always one of the best, and he always will be one of the best. I’ll never forget watching him as a young Jazz fan dominate my team. He was among the toughest competition I ever witnessed my team play against. Rest in peace Black Mamba.


Scott Stephens

My favorite Kobe Bryant memory will be the impact he left in his time outside of the game of basketball. It was cut way too short, but from his charitable donations to his impact with Nike, he inspired kids around the world to set as high of goals as they can and not settle until they have accomplished them. His stats and his accomplishments in the game made him the star that he was, but I will remember his efforts off the court for years to come.


Brayden Ramsay

Kobe Bryant was a man who I always hated to watch play against the Jazz. I didn’t like watching him because I knew that even if the Jazz were up by 40 points, there was always a chance Mamba could put the Lakers on his back and make a crazy comeback to beat my favorite team. My earliest memory of Bryant is from when I was about four or five years old. I remember walking through Dick’s Sporting Goods at the Gateway with my dad when I saw a wall full of Lakers jerseys. Those that know me, know I’m a jersey fanatic. So, of course, I had to buy one, even if the smallest size available was an adult medium. I wore that Bryant jersey all over the place and would even practice the “Kobe” fadeaway at recess. It wasn’t until a few years later when I saw Bryant lead the Lakers to victory over the Jazz, that I would start to not like the team. So, obviously, I had to retire that jersey never to be worn again. In a Utah Jazz tribute video before his last game, one fan said it best. Bryant was like Heath Ledger playing the Joker in “The Dark Knight.” You hated him because you were supposed to, but you had to respect him because his performance was legendary. So for the first time since that old jersey was put away back in the early 2000s, I’ll break it out again and wear the No. 8 with pride. Rest in peace Mamba. You were a true legend.


Mallory Arnold

Kobe Bryant — a name all sports fanatics are familiar with. There’s no doubt that Bryant was one of the best to play in the NBA. From going pro at only age 17 to his 20-year professional career, where he gained five championships and took home two Olympic gold medals, there was nothing the Black Mamba couldn’t do. There are so many great moments from his career, but my favorite comes in 2006 when he dropped 81 points versus the Toronto Raptors. The most impressive part about it is that he scored only 26 points in the first half and came back in the second half with 55 points. He went 28-46 shooting, 7-13 on the 3-point line, and 18-20 on the foul line. This game gave Bryant the second-highest total in NBA history. The Lakers were able to come back from behind and win the game 122-104. The basketball world will forever be changed by Bryant’s influence, and both he and his daughter Gianna will be greatly missed.


Ethan Pearce 

Kobe Bryant is gone. The words I never wanted to say. I grew up yelling “Kobe!” when I shot a piece of paper into a trash can. Even before I became a huge NBA fan, I knew about Bryant and his “Mamba Mentality.” The relentless pursuit of a goal. Doing whatever it takes to win. Putting his team and his city on his back and delivering them five NBA Championships. To me, nothing epitomizes Mamba Mentality more than when Bryant tore his Achilles tendon against my Golden State Warriors and still delivered the big free throws before leaving the floor. Bryant knew what had just happened — his season was over and he would miss most of the next. Still, he stood up, walked under his own power and sunk both free throws to tie the game at 109. In the third to last game of the season, the Lakers were still in the thick of the playoff race, without a spot locked up. They needed this, and they got it. L.A. went on to win the game 118-116 and eventually make the playoffs. Those free throws were potentially the difference between a win and a loss and determined their playoff seeding. With his body giving out and their season on the line, he stepped up and gave his team two more points, through the pain and sweat and tears. That’s Bryant’s legacy — giving to the game until he had nothing left to give. 81 points. 60 in his farewell. Winning an Oscar! Bryant’s incredible legacy and impact on the game of basketball meant so much to me and millions of others who love this sport. Rest in Peace, Black Mamba. You will be missed.


Carlos Padilla

(Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

As a lifelong Jazz fan, there were always certain games I would circle on the schedule. These games, of course, where whenever the Los Angeles Lakers would arrive at the Vivint Smart Home Arena. While the Lakers as a franchise always warranted attention, the main attraction was always the Black Mamba himself. As a 9-year-old kid, I would watch in awe as Kobe would be posted up against a defender and then as if he were lighter than air, jump and rotate in midair. Kobe’s fade-away seemed to have no answer. If the Mamba wanted his shot, then you knew the Lakers were going to score. Even a decade later, I can still remember watching Kobe fade away and hit nothing but net. The fade-away of Kobe Bryant is, in my opinion, one of the most iconic signature shots in NBA history.


Cole Bagley

I am an NBA superfan. I’ve also been a Jazz fan since I was just a little boy, and to be honest, Kobe Bryant was the main reason for a lot of my grief. I only ever saw Bryant play in person once. It was back in January 2012, when the Lakers were in town to take on the Jazz. This game was incredibly close and went back-and-forth all night, eventually forcing an overtime period. Of course, Bryant unleashed the Mamba and took over in that overtime period. I will never forget how with 0.7 seconds left, Bryant drew a foul down by one, and, in full-Kobe fashion, knocked down two free throws to give the Lakers the lead. On the ensuing play, Bryant then blocked Devin Harris and sealed the victory as time expired. Bryant’s death has given me a lot of time to reflect upon the impact he had on the game that I so deeply love. Bryant was all about perfecting his craft. His desire to be the best inspired so many others to try and be like him and internalize the Mamba Mentality. Some of my favorite players, like Lebron James, Donovan Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox and Trae Young, have all spoken about the inspiration and impact he had on their game. So while I may have had many frustrations by his hand, I can’t help but appreciate and thank him for all that he did for the game. I loved cheering against such a fierce competitor because it made for some incredible and legendary games to observe. After his retirement from the NBA, he became an inspiration to me to be the best at my craft and to forever live by the Mamba Mentality. May he and Gigi rest in peace. Mamba Forever.


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