Kobe Bryant is only days away from being inducted into the Hall of Fame. And even though he's not going to be there physically, his legacy and presence can be felt around the NBA night in and night out.
The Black Mamba became one of the most iconic athletes of all time. Besides his awards and individual accolades, his determination to always be better and bring the best out of his teammates made him a legend.
Then again, he was also known for being a tough person to deal with if you weren't on his good side. He was overconfident and ruthless, and that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.
As a matter of fact, Sonics legend Gary Payton even admitted that NBA veterans actually hated Kobe when he first entered the league, as he was just too arrogant and cocky:
“Kobe came in real arrogant. He was a high school kid coming in there talking about he gonna be the greatest, he’s gonna be one of the greatest basketball players. When he went to the Lakers, it started off when he forced Charlotte to trade… to the Lakers, so it is what it was, man… Them OGs was like, Man, who does this kid think he is, making people do this and that.’… So I just say, yeah, a lot of people were really against him, because of how he acted, but I loved it. He had an attitude, he had a dog to it," Payton said in an interview with Brandon Robinson.
That's Kobe 101 right there. He wasn't going to back down to anybody, regardless of the situation. 'Shaq, do you want the ball? Then grab the rebound, I don't care if you're an MVP candidate and I'm just a rookie.'
At the end of the day, it's safe to say that Kobe lived up to the standards he set for himself. He became one of the greatest basketball players of all time, the face of the winningest franchise in the NBA, and a person who impacted millions of lives even outside sports.
You're missed deeply, Kobe, but your legacy will live on until the end of time.