Freeman Cebu Sports

Mamba Mentality

EVERY POUND COUNTS - Allan 'Coach A' Choachuy - The Freeman

Last Monday, the unthinkable happened. I brushed it off at first, thinking that it was just a fake news or a plain hoax. But the longer I stayed online, I soon realized that the news was true - Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash. What affected me more is that her 13-year-old daughter was in that fateful flight as well. Gianna has a bright future in basketball. She has the same drive and will power as that of his dad. She has the Mamba Mentality. Almost everyone knows Kobe as a great basketball player but the whole world, especially the parents, can relate to him as a DAD. The time he spent with his daughter training, driving her to school back and forth, and bringing her to NBA games. They are always a sight to behold at the courtside.

Moments after the tragedy that sent shockwaves in all corners of the basketball world, I read this touching piece through the net and felt the need to share this:

“Can you even imagine how difficult it was for him in that moment? The moment he knew that not only his own life was about to end, but that of his daughter...a life he helped create. Can you imagine how he felt as a father knowing he couldn’t protect her?

Can you imagine him holding her, consoling her, telling her he loved her as that helicopter went down?

As a parent, I can tell you, Kobe Bryant’s greatest fear was realized today. And it wasn’t the fear for his own life, but for that of his beautiful daughter.

Because as a parent, your life means nothing in comparison to the lives of your children. We live for our children. We breathe for our children. They are our reason for being. We would also die for them, without hesitation. Without question, without a moment’s notice, we would lay down our own lives to ensure theirs. Just thinking of his internal struggle in those last moments tears my heart into pieces.

He knew his daughter’s young life was ending. He knew he was leaving 3 other precious children behind. Oh, how his heart must have ached! Can you even imagine the agony that played out in his mind? Every parent’s worst nightmare happening to him in real time.

He was there when his sweet girl took her first breath, and he was there with her when she took her last. And that’s the only solace I can find in this...that he was there. In her final moments, her daddy was there to remind her of his undying love.

And with everything in me, I hope that baby felt every ounce of love her daddy had for her. I hope it overwhelmed her, and carried her straight into paradise. Because I know that’s all her daddy wanted too.

Rest in peace Kobe and Gigi. Our hearts mourn you.

Hug your children extra tight tonight, mamas and daddies. Tomorrow is never promised.”

Indeed, the whole world grieved for the sudden death of one of the greatest basketball players of all time. I could not put myself in Kobe’s shoes in that last moment when they were about to crash land, on how could he tell his daughter it’s alright, everything will be safe. It is just so sad. I didn’t know Kobe personally but as a parent I could relate to him.

Moving forward the horrific accident made me dig deep on how Kobe came to be such a sublime basketball player, from a 17-year-old skinny kid to a basketball icon. I saw him play once in Manila during the NBA All-Star exhibition during the lockout season. He was a frequent visitor in the Philippines, a country that holds a special place in his heart. In one of his many visits, he even wore a barong Tagalog and danced ‘tinikling’.

Kobe has a book entitled “KOBE BRYANT the MAMBA MENTALITY”. Here are some quotes that best describe what the Mamba Mentality is all about.

“When you’re not practicing, someone else is getting better.”

 “My routine changed over time; my approach didn’t.”

“The only aspect that can’t change, though, is that obsession. You have to enter every activity, every single time, with a want and need to do it to the best of your ability.”

“If you want to win championships, you have to let people focus on what they do best while you focus on what you do best.”

Without a doubt, Kobe was a driving force and strive to be the best or the greatest. He idolizes Michael Jordan and emulates his moves. As to what Tracy Macgrady said during an interview, Kobe rewinds back and forth every Jordan move just to memorize how MJ does it. T-Mac also mentioned that Kobe wanted to die early so that he will be immortalized. But that was the pre-fatherhood Kobe speaking because as a parent, his priorities and perspective in life will be different for sure. Another NBA legend Reggie Miller also added that “a young Kobe often called and sent me text messages asking about details during his encounter with MJ.”

With Kobe gone, let the Mamba Mentality guide us in our journey, be it with our family, in sports or in business. To be great in our own lives, learn from Kobe. Jimmy Fallon, in his tribute to Kobe, said Kobe rose to any challenges, digging deeper, and getting back to work. So let’s honor Kobe and Gianna and all the other souls lost by following Kobe’s example. Love your family, respect your friends and teammates, outwork everyone in the gym, and most of all, try to inspire other people so they can be great in whatever they want to be.



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