How Kobe Bryant’s Final Game Changed My Life

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If you know me, you know that I’m a huge basketball fan. I’ve been a loyal Miami Heat fan ever since I started playing as them in the video game, NBA 2K13, as funny as that may sound. I’ve developed an appreciation for the sport over the years and some of the greats, such as Kobe Bryant, have not only impressed me but also inspired me in my own endeavors.

Last night, April 13, 2016, was Kobe Bryant’s last game. I am grateful that I was able to see him play in one of his final games against the Los Angeles Clippers last week during my California vacation. It was my first and last time seeing Kobe play, and although he did not have his greatest game of all time that night, it was amazing to witness the support of his fans. I sat in section 107 right behind the basket, where a man decked out in a Clippers-themed dress suit decided to pay his respect for the five-time champion. He initiated various chants to help us get Kobe’s attention, even while the veteran was resting on the bench. We succeeded and even got him to smile at us and acknowledge our praise. It was incredible to see the impact that an athlete can have on a multitude of people.

Last night’s game was bittersweet; however, it was much more sweet than bitter. It’s a shame to realize that you won’t see an NBA legend play in the league anymore, but the way he played on Wednesday night was fantastic and inspiring. Scoring 60 points in his final game, Kobe left the game playing similar to how he did in the prime of his career. He made many incredible shots and helped the Lakers to come from behind and take the win.

The victory was absolutely heartwarming, just as the video montages that aired between gameplay were. Many successful athletes and other celebrities expressed their gratitude for Kobe and how he’s inspired them over the years. There were videos of him that showed his determination and focus throughout his career. Some of the messages he delivered reflected upon his mission to be the best that he could be and his refusal to ever give up.

These montages inspired me and made me think about events in my own life. I’ve been an extremely hardworking person for a while now, especially since I began my weight loss journey, and I used to be very hard on myself to the point where I would feel very upset in situations where I thought I could have done better. I never lost my motivation or determination, but treating myself that way took a toll on me emotionally. As a result, I’ve been more lenient on myself and more relaxed with all that I do. There’s nothing wrong with this, but after I witnessed Kobe’s final game, I became inspired to find a happy medium between pushing myself too hard and not pushing myself enough.

I went to bed late after the game, but I still set my alarm to make it to Zumba class at 9 a.m. this morning. I woke up around 8 a.m. exhausted, debating whether or not I wanted to make the trek out of bed. My mind was conflicted between hitting the snooze button and performing my favorite form of cardiovascular exercise. My sleepy brain almost convinced myself to lay back down, but Kobe came to mind, along with his message of being the best version of oneself. I forced myself up out of bed, got dressed in my fitness gear, and danced and sweat happily. Throughout the workout, I felt a little sluggish from my lack of sleep, but Kobe’s message rang through my mind contstantly and I pushed myself as hard as I could. It’s safe to say that the man nicknamed the “Black Mamba” has had a far greater effect on people than he will ever truly know.

Now, I’m keeping Kobe’s motivation in my mind at all times. Being the best version of oneself is an incredibly inspiring concept and must be used with care. It’s necessary for our mental health to not become depressed if we don’t push ourselves as much as we could have, but instead, we should stay extremely confident in our abilities, turn around, and try harder next time. Even small improvements will still lead us in a positive direction. The key is to push ourselves just the right amount – to a point where we put some pressure on ourselves to accomplish amazing goals, but not too much pressure where we get down on ourselves.

The next time you debate skipping a workout, remind yourself to be the best possible version of yourself and think of how amazing you’ll feel after you complete it. The next time you don’t feel like putting all of your effort into your work, think about how proud of yourself you will be when you create something amazing. I know that anything is possible and when we put our minds to something, we can achieve anything in the world. Kobe’s basketball career was coming to an end and look at what he still did in his final game.

Kobe always strove to be the best, and even through failure, he never gave up. We should feel the same way and become the best of all time in whatever we do, comparing our efforts to no one else’s but our own. Thank you for everything, Kobe.

 

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