Kobe Bryant’s impact on Marshfield students

Kobe Bean Bryant, Mr. 81, The Dagger, The Black Mamba. A man with not only skill on the basketball court, but off the court as well, as a father, husband, coach and more. Bryant was an influencer, motivator, and a great basketball player, as shown by his five National Basketball Association (NBA) championships for the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as a Most Valuable Player award (MVP), two NBA Finals MVPs, 18 all-star selections, and four all-star MVPs. Though Bryant was a fierce competitor on the court, he was also a family man as well- a father of 4 children who enjoyed watching his two older daughters, Gianna and Natalia Bryant, play various sports, as well as coaching for Gianna’s basketball team.

On January 26th, 2020, a tragedy happened that impacted not only fans of basketball, but the world as a whole. Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash along with eight others including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant.

As well as impacting many lives across the nation, Kobe Bryant’s death impacted many students at Marshfield High School. Sophomore Dom Montiel said that Kobe Bryant had an impact on his life just by being an example of someone with a good work ethic.

“Kobe impacted my life just by showing me what hard work is, just that Mamba mentality,” Montiel said.

Montiel is a member of the Marshfield varsity basketball team, and wears the number 24 for Kobe Bryant. Montiel said he follows Bryant’s example by having the same will to win that Bryant did and putting that mentality onto the court.

“Growing up, me and my dad were Laker fans,” Montiel said. “Growing up in the 2000s he was the man, and just being a Laker fan he was just everyone’s favorite player.”

Montiel said he was a fan from a young age, and even has merchandise of Bryant’s including jerseys, shoes and t-shirts. 

Another student Kobe Bryant impacted was junior Hobie Ainsworth. Ainsworth is a member of the Marshfield junior varsity basketball team and has grown up watching Kobe Bryant play.

“[Kobe Bryant] impacted me through everything; like how I play and my mindset. I basically attack everything like he did on the court,” Ainsworth said.

Ainsworth also follows the same mentality as Bryant by having a “Mamba Mentality.” The Mamba Mentality is a mindset, where a person would give it their all and continue to improve themselves to become better than what they are right now, whether it’s in basketball, or in life itself, the Mamba Mentality is a way of being able to tackle any situation one comes across.

Sophomore Monty Swinson said that he was also heavily impacted by being able to watch Kobe Bryant play as he was growing up.

“Kobe impacted my life because as a kid; I watched Kobe play and he definitely helped get me into basketball,” Swinson said.

Swinson is also a member of the Marshfield varsity basketball team. He said he respected the humbleness from Kobe Bryant and enjoyed watching Bryant’s last NBA game, where he put up 60 points in a win over the Utah Jazz.

“Kobe was very humble and never looked back on anything and just kept looking forward,” Swinson said. “He was able to do everything [on the court] and eventually that’s what I want to do.” 

Kobe Bryant has already been announced to win the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame award, allowing his name to be put down forever with the people who impacted the game of basketball, and Bryant’s jersey has been retired by the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant holds many records with them, including scoring the second most points in a game by a single player, with 81 points. Kobe Bryant will truly be missed and he will go down as a highly decorated basketball player with many awards and a loving family member whose life was taken too soon.