Jaylin Holmes, a graduating senior at UIC College Prep had the opportunity to pen an essay in 24-hrs about Kobe Bryant for the Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship Foundation . Jaylin’s essay earned him VIP tickets to the 2020 NBA All Star Legends Basketball Rising Stars Game.
As a kid, I was always athletic and energetic. I loved playing games and sports. My first sports were basketball and baseball, but basketball was my favorite because of the crazy competitiveness and excitement it brought. I’ve been playing since I was nine-years-old, traveling with teams from city to city every summer. Now in high school, I go up against schools from all across the Chicago area. In the world of basketball, we all have our favorites. One of my favorite players was Kobe Bryant. From the game-winners, All-Star games, Olympics, to the playoffs, Kobe was one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball. He played with a different type of grit compared to other players. As a matter of fact, some may say his talent was “Godly” or even “One of a kind”. Determined and dedicated to the sport he loved, Kobe was an egotistical player. He strived for perfection. His game inspired many generations of athletes after him, making fans want the same “Mamba Mentality” he had. People may just know him for being a freak athlete, but Kobe also influenced millions of people off the court as well.
In honor of his profound legacy and the celebration of Black History Month, Kobe is one of few black men to be multilingual, fluently speaking Spanish, Italian, and of course English. Moreover, he exemplified the role of being a supportive father and husband. In today’s society, we lack fatherhood in our black communities. As black men, we have to understand the significance of being a father. We have to set examples for the younger generation to follow. Unfortunately, we live in an unjust world. Our youth become victims of society’s racial profiling, due to the lack of strong black male father figures. Many may say that Kobe’s financial wealth made his job as a dad easier, however, the amount of quality time spent with his children was more valuable because unlike money, time is irreplaceable.
Kobe showed me how to be a young mentor and leader. He once said, “ The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do”. Despite my age and my race, I plan to carry on the Mamba Mentality by inspiring more generations of minorities around the city to get involved in the STEM world. As a kid from the southside area, I see a lack of infrastructure in our African American communities. From the potholes in streets to the homeless people living underneath rusted viaducts, it is obvious that our neighborhoods need to be reconstructed. I plan to work hard as an engineer to improve our neighborhoods. Through this, we can create unity within our community, making a place we call home feel more serene. When Kobe first entered the NBA he dominated, in fact, he was only seventeen years old, just like me today. He proves to every young black male and female, regarding their upbringings or background, that anybody is capable of accomplishing anything. In respect of Kobe Bryant and his remarkable career, I will continue the Mamba Mentality forever, in other words, “Mamba Out”.
~ R.I.P Kobe & GiGi~