Arguably one of the greatest layers of all time. a legendary work ethic. a drive matched by no one in his time. The fervor to win only seen by his predecessor Michael Jordan. dozens of epic performances, 5 NBA championships. 2 finals MVPs, 1 league MVP, multiple scoring titles, 60 point games, 81 point game. clutch performances, buzzer beaters. Every time he stepped on the court he put on a show. and he wanted to win every game. His name is Kobe Bean Bryant. He Came, He saw, He conquered the NBA for 20 seasons, with one team the Los Angeles Lakers. He inspired many of the black community, became a household name. However, we cannot relate to him. “We” meaning the black community. The average black fan who grew up in the ” hood”. We cannot relate to him, and he cannot relate to us. He grew up mainly in isolation, from Italy, when he came to the states he couldn’t speak English, so he secluded himself because he couldn’t truly make friends. He turned to the basketball for refuge. A high school phenom, he was drafted straight out of high school. he couldn’t hag out with his teammates because they were older. So he spent a lot of time alone. an isolated person, incapable of understanding social ques and how to communicate, he often battled with teammates. It has more to do than his will to win, Kobe was limited in relating to his contemporaries and it secluded him as a person. But that was what made him so great. That isolation turned him into a vicious assassin. It transformed him into the Black mamba we know today. it may have been the catalyst that propelled him to greatness. Because it gave him his obsession for basketball. Being secluded to a basketball he worked and worked and worked to be one of the greatest of all time we’ve seen today. He won over our hearts with his will to win and his fervor for greatness. His extreme work ethic to become great and do whatever it takes to win allowed him to put on performances and make moves that emulate video games. And us, as lovers for the game, were hypnotized by this greatness. And then he had his retirement tour and then he vanished. He left the game, he lingers because the love for basketball still exists. However, he faded away, like he was infamous for. And it drew us so much closer to him. because he left us with memories of 4th quarter takeovers, stretches of scoring brilliance we’ve never seen before. But we could never relate to this man. It is an enigma that continues to be questioned. So why do we as a black community love Kobe Bryant so much? The man that never grew up in the hood? the man that only befriended a basketball? Because his love for the game was stronger than anything else. And that, in its truest form is what we can relate to and why we praise him so much. Because his competitive spirit was unmatched. Because he was Kobe Bryant, and he’s arguably the greatest basketball player of his generation.