Each and every one of us that’s grown up a fan of sports, music, or both I believe has a first memory of Kobe Bryant that we can point to and definitively say that was our first Mamba Moment. Whether you loved or hated him, I guarantee you’ve got one.
For me it was in the fourth grade. Growing up my Mom always worked close with the NBA Cares program through her job atScholastic and had gotten my grandpa and I tickets to the NBA All Star Weekend’s dunk contest that year in Las Vegas. Looking back on it, it probably wasn’t the best city for a ten-year-old to be in on such a wild weekend. Regardless, I got to watch a prime Kobe in the Skills Challenge come in second to Deron Williams and remember thinking to myself, “Wow, he does pass.” My grandfather, living in LA, bought me a Kobe jersey for what was now my self-proclaimed favorite player, that I proceeded to spill nacho cheese on just minutes later.
Add in watching Kobe beat my childhood favorite team in the Orlando Magic during the 2009 NBA Finals, his last game asa freshman in college in my dorm room instead of studying for final exams, and much more and there’s no doubt the impact he had not just on my life but also many of yours as well.
What often times is so overlooked though is the impact Kobe Bean Bryant had on the music industry too. His connection to the city of Los Angeles and the West Coast Hip-Hop movement off the court, personal relationships with legends like Kendrick Lamar who he used to host ComplexCon panels with, the countless number of music artists we’ve seen rock his jersey in music videos, album covers, and on tour alike.
It wasn’t just the superstardom and domination he imposed on his opponents for the better part of two decades in the league, it was the attitude and mindset (that Mamba Mentality) that drove so many of our favorite music artists to attack the booth, the pen and paper they write their lyrics on, and energy they bring to their passion in the same ways that Kobe attacked his opponents on the court, in practice, and other areas of his life.
The fact that for many of our favorite music artists and athletes, it was either put a ball in a hoop or rock a mic to make it out of the neighborhoods they call home. And chances are, they picked up that orange leather ball way before they hit the studio for a late-night session or picked up the pen and paper.
We can’t write this article without touching on what may be the best, most moving, and impactful aspect of Kobe Bryant being his impact and role as a father for his late daughter Gigi Bryant who was no doubt a baller in her own right too.
The self-proclaimed ‘girl dad’ to not just Gigi but also to three other daughters in Natalie, Bianka, and Capri was a role model for fathers everywhere especially in the lessons he taught us, leading by example in how to get the women in our society to see their true value, worth, potential, and beauty at such a young age to our world.
So, it’s no wonder that the man so many of us considered one of the GOATs was name dropped on over 500 songs during the course of his career. Spanning the likes of artists from NickiMinaj, Lil Wayne, Rapsody, Chief Keef, Nav, Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar, KanyeWest, and Travis Scott just to name a few.
Moving away from just the personal impact he had on so many of his peers and counterparts in the entertainment industry, how about the record deal Kobe once inked back in 1999 with Sony Music?Although he never got to release the studio album he promised fans, we did get a glimpse into his musical aspirations during the 2000 NBA All Star Weekend when he released his first, and last, single entitled K.O.B.E. Which, according to legend, he also met his future wife Vanessa Bryant on the music video set for. Sprinkle in a few features with the likes of 50 Cent on that album that was ultimately shelved too for good measure.
Our favorite Kobe moment in the music industry though? Taking Grammy award winning and platinum R&B recording artist Brandy to his senior prom in high school as an eighteen-year-old.It truly doesn’t get any better than that.
As we all continue to celebrate the lives and mourn the losses of Kobe andGigi Bryant, we invite you to drop your favorite Mamba Moment in the comments as well for us to all remember the impact they’ve had on, what for many is, our greatest passions in music and sports.
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