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A Serious Mourning In Sports: The Legend of the Black Mamba | Features | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS
KEITH ALLISON

A Serious Mourning In Sports: The Legend of the Black Mamba

“Heroes come and go, but legends are forever.”

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant lost his life in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. He was 41 years old, and his daughter Gianna Maria Onore, who was by his side at the time of the crash, was only 13. They were on their way to the Mamba Academy for a basketball practice when the fatal accident occurred.

Living Life Fearless taps into the world of basketball to express what simple words cannot. The impact that this player has had on the game, the media, and the entertainment industry is not measurable with words or numbers.

The more the minutes go by, the less it seems to be true.

Inside the Mamba Mentality

Kobe Bryant began his career in Italy, where his father Joe Bryant played first in Rieti, then at Viola Reggio Calabria, Olimpia Basket Pistoia and Reggiana, and where he lived from 6 to 13 years of age. In the NBA, he has always played with the Los Angeles Lakers where he has won 5 titles. Bryant is the fourth best scorer in NBA history with 33,643 points, right under LeBron James who’s now at 33,655.

Among his countless successes he could also boast the 2018 Oscar Award won together with the director Glen Kean for the Best Animated Short Film “Dear Basketball” inspired by his farewell letter to his sport.

…you’re the reason why I chose to make a better use of my time and find a new way to express myself…

Just like all the greatest sportsmen, a legend has been created around Kobe, who has been able to break the boundaries of reality to land first into fiction and then into pure anthology. The man from Philadelphia was probably one of the greatest sports icons of the years between the 90’s and 2010, occupying the void that Michael Jordan had left on the playing field. Bryant, like perhaps no one else, has faced two if not three different generations of players and athletes, turning into a living legend.

You Who Lived Your Life Fearless

As a basketball player in Italy myself, I’ve got to address you in second person – the same way you addressed Basketball in the aforementioned short film that turned you into an Oscar winner.

You’re not just another guy that I looked up to back in high school; you’re the reason why I chose to make a better use of my time and find a new way to express myself, my anger, my creativity.

Before writing, there was only basketball in my boyhood, and in the world of basketball you were my major source of inspiration. You and Only You. Now that I am a writer, reading your letter once again helps me to articulate my love for you, my life and the meaning of being a sportsman. I hope this letter fully transcribed from your short film may help us all to understand how much your passion was intrinsically connected to all our dreams.

I owe you the world, man. Thank you.

In your own words:

Dear Basketball,
From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
Game-winning shots
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love with you.
A love so deep I gave you my all —
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.

As a six-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one.

And so I ran.
I ran up and down every court
After every loose ball for you.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.

I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.

I did everything for YOU
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you’ve made me feel.

You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

And that’s OK.
I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have.

And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1

Love you always,
Kobe

– “Dear Basketball”
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