OPINION: The death of Kobe Bryant leaves a void across the world

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash Sunday

%22Kobe+Bryant+passing+Michael+Jordan+Official+Artwork%22+by+Tyson+Beck+is+licensed+under+CC+BY-NC-ND+4.0+

"Kobe Bryant passing Michael Jordan Official Artwork" by Tyson Beck is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Jordan Parker

NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas Sunday morning.

The first word that comes to mind when I hear Kobe’s name is legend. Like Michael Jordan before him, Kobe changed basketball. He dominated on the court night after night. No matter what his opponents did, they couldn’t stop him.

From his first game to his last, Kobe never ceased to amaze. Highlight reel dunks and other extraordinary plays only tell part of the story, Kobe was a winner. He accepted nothing less than winning.

It wasn’t until he retired, that I was able to truly appreciate the impact he had on me both as a sports fan and as a person. He was just unreal on the court, his moves, his shot and his flair for the dramatic kept me on the edge of my seat throughout his storied career.

Story continues below video.

Kobe inspired greatness all over the world during his spectacular career. His saying, “Mamba Mentality” made waves in not just basketball, but throughout every major sport around the world.

What impressed me the most, was how he carried himself off the court. He was so kind and selfless no matter the situation. He offered advice to various athletes and celebrities who looked up to him. He spent a lot of time giving back to the game he loved by coaching his daughter, Gianna’s youth team and bringing her to many WNBA games.

The passion, will and determination he brought can never be replicated. Kobe was one of a kind.

Personally, Kobe inspired me to be better. It didn’t matter if you played basketball or not, the principles he applied to his life were relevant to everyone around him.

The world didn’t just lose a basketball player Sunday morning, they lost a living superhero. The void he left can never be filled and there can never be another Kobe.

Story continues below video.

Kobe is not only arguably the greatest basketball player of all time but one of the best people to ever walk this Earth. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Vanessa Bryant and his other three daughters.

How can I say goodbye to someone I wasn’t ready to lose? I can’t. I can never say thank you enough to Kobe for what he has done. He was truly a legend.

Mamba, I’ll never forget you. #MambaMentality.