By Will Sohn
It has been almost one month since the tragic death of former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant. On January 26th, a helicopter accident claimed nine lives including: Kobe Bryant (41), his daughter Gianna (13), Alyssa Altobelli (14), Keri Altobelli (46), John Altobelli (56), Payton Chester (13), Sarah Chester (45), Christina Mauser (38), and the pilot, Ara Zobayan (50). Such an unexpected death left the world shocked. A Philly native himself, the “black mamba” left his mark on and off the basketball court.
Bryant had a spectacular high school career at Lower Merion High School, located in the Philadelphia Suburbs. As a 17-year old in 1996, Bryant declared for the NBA draft. The decision to go pro out of high school was uncommon at the time and met with skepticism.
Now, 25 years later, many consider Bryant among the top ten players in NBA history. He played his entire 20-year professional basketball career for the Los Angeles Lakers. His career accomplishments include five NBA championships, two NBA Finals MVP awards, one League MVP award, and 18 All Star game selections.
Even off the court Bryant inspired others. He is quoted as saying, “The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do.”
Following his retirement in 2016, Bryant published his first book The Mamba Mentality: How I Play. In 2018, he won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his film Dear Basketball. He also became the first African-American to win the Academy Award for that category and the first former professional athlete to be nominated and to win an Academy Award in any category.
Bryant always tried new things and pushed himself and others to do so. Along with his wife, he founded the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, which is a public charity dedicated to improving the lives of youth and families in need. He also founded the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, which is focused on creating a positive impact through sports. In fact, Bryant was taking his daughter to the Mamba Sports Academy when the accident occurred.
Bryant’s death received a huge, immediate reaction from celebrities all around the world including NBA star LeBron James, former teammate Shaquille O’Neal, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, and talk-show host Jimmy Fallon. On the day of the accident, Los Angeles Lakers fans gathered outside the Staples Center to honor him and made a makeshift memorial with jerseys, flowers, candles, and other symbols.
Large events like Superbowl LIV later paid tribute as well. In fact, the NBA All-Star game this past Sunday seemed like one long tribute to Bryant: Team LeBron all wore number 2 for Gianna, Team Giannis wore number 24 for Bryant, the All Star MVP Award was permanently renamed the NBA All Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award, and the format of the game changed so that they will aim for a final score of plus-24 in the fourth quarter.
In addition to the public outpourings of support, his family held a private funeral on February 7th. A public memorial service will take place outside Staples Center on February 24th.
Even though he stands as one of the most accomplished players of all time, Bryant’s impact extends past basketball. His “mamba mentality” inspires people to better themselves everyday through hard work and perseverance. As an athlete, businessman, philanthropist, and father, Bryant’s legacy lives on around the world. He is a legend to never be forgotten.
By Madison O’Leary
How many of us have been bowling before? The answer is pretty much the entire population. However, not as many people are aware that bowling is a competitive sport with teams and competitions. Personally, I did not know a lot about the team aspect, so I decided to ask my friend, Devan Barkley, about Council Rock North’s own bowling team.
Q: What made you decide to join the bowling team?
Barkley: Allie [Daries’s] older sister was on the North bowling team, and she heard that we could get college scholarships, so we both joined.
Q: How long have you been a part of the team?
Barkley: I have been on the team since my freshman year, so three years now.
Q: What is the team dynamic like?
Barkley: There are not many of us on the girls’ team, so we’re a pretty tight-knit group. We’re all good friends, and we give each other rides. Sometimes, we even go bowling on the weekends together.
Q: What is your favorite part about competing?
Barkley: My favorite part of competing is doing so with my friends. Although the sport is generally pretty individual, the team aspect makes it a lot more fun, especially when we set goals for ourselves and the team. One thing we do is if everyone gets a strike (knocking down all the bowling pins in one shot) or a spare (knocking all the pins down in two shots) in one frame, our coach will buy us a pizza!
Q: What do you think the best reason is for joining the bowling team?
Barkley: A good reason to join the team is that it’s something fun you can do with your friends, and you can even make new friends. You don’t have to have any skill to join the team [unlike many other sports], so it’s an easy way to relax after a tough school day (juniors, you know).
Q: Do you plan on continuing after high school?
Barkley: If I hone my skills enough in high school, I hope to try for a college scholarship in bowling. And even if I don’t get one, I’ll still bowl with my friends and family and maybe join a bowling league in my free time.
Q: What has being a part of this team taught you?
Barkley: Being on the team has taught me skills in a sport that I can play both in competition and recreationally. It also taught me optimism because even if you don’t have a great game or even a great frame (round), you can always do better in the next one.
The bowling team sounds like a tight-knit, low-stress community in our school. I’m sure many of us could use more of that. The team is at the tail-end of their season, which was marked by their SOL championship on February 12th. So, let’s continue to support North’s bowling team and continue to congratulate them for their achievements.