"Mamba Out"

By the age of eight, I fell in love with drawing and the game of basketball. The number 8 that Kobe wore always meant something special to me. If I wasn't submerged in drawing and painting, I was working on my jumper from sunrise to sunset. As a little girl, I played basketball with my brothers and other young men in the neighborhood.

Once I reached junior high school, my brothers started choosing me first. In high school, I rocked Gary Payton's number 20. My favorite player was the magic man himself, Ervin Johnson. I was born and raised in "Chocolate City", a die-hard DC sports fan but the Lake Show was my special team. I played softball for two years in college and league ball every summer. My ball playing aspirations ended at the age of 28 after tearing my ACL. I waited years to become a coach. I thought my disability would be a hindrance. It turned out to be a blessing.

However, after eight years of coaching and mentoring girls basketball, I told the team I wouldn't be returning next season. As 2020 began, a little over a month ago, one of the game's greatest passed away at the age of 41, with his daughter Gianna and 7 others. Kobe retired in 2016, and began blazing a trail in entertainment as a creative artist in which he equally loved. He thrilled us with some of the most creative and exciting quarters of basketball throughout his career. I looked forward to his next animation or feature film project.

What I loved most about Kobe as he evolved throughout the years was his undying support of women athletes and sports. His love and support of his daughter Gianna is priceless. I must have played thousands of games and my Dad never saw me play. Saying goodbye to my girls was one of the hardest days of my life. I am hoping that I have inspired them to pursue their dreams and develop that mamba mentality. Mamba Out! 24/8



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