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Kobe Bryant: Ever-evolving animal, same beast

Editorial cartoon by Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 28 2020 09:52 PM

Kobe Bryant: Ever-evolving animal, same beast

When Kobe Bean Bryant switched jersey numbers midway through his basketball career, the Los Angeles (LA) Lakers legend captured the essence of this change in this tweet:

Coming into the NBA in 1996, he wore No. 8 until the 2005-2006 season. The following season, he donned No. 24 until his retirement in 2016.

When Bryant lived in Italy as a boy, he used 8; at Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, he wore 24.

In an interview with Bleacher Report in 2017, Bryant said 8 represented his desire to “prove that I'm one of the best in this league.” 

“Then 24 is a growth from that,” he said. “Start having a broader perspective being one of the older guys on the team now, as opposed to being the youngest. Things evolve.” 

Evolution, a concept that defined Bryant’s basketball career, seemed to be evident in his retirement, too.

He won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his work “Dear Basketball.” He was in talks with author Paulo Coehlo for a children’s book. 

The Los Angeles Times described Bryant as a businessman who “built a wide-ranging empire that includes a venture capital fund, multimedia production company, athletic training centers and books.”

He spent a lot of time, too, with daughter Gigi, whose passion for basketball apparently inspired Bryant to rediscover a love for the game that he hadn’t felt since hanging it all up.

Gigi had the makings of becoming a great player, and Bryant started to see in her an appetite and aptitude to play ball that was similar to his.

Sadly, that future will never be fulfilled. Bryant, Gigi and 7 others perished in a helicopter crash on Sunday, leaving an entire world in mourning.

Bryant’s career and retirement can be summed up this way — almost everything that he dabbled in he excelled. He sought to learn, to evolve, but didn’t do so just for the sake of it; he wanted to shine in whichever field he chose.

An ever-evolving animal no question, but always the same beast. — by Dominic Menor, ABS-CBN News