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Apr 13

Mamba Magic-Sports Talk With Anthony Bonelli And More

This morning, as I stared at the Kobe Bryant poster that hangs on my bedroom wall, I could not help but get emotional. Aside from being known as one of the best players to ever step onto a basketball court, Bryant is also known as “Black Mamba,” which is a type of venomous snake. I am aware that one of the expectations of a journalist is to be unbiased or impartial, but another expectation of a journalist is to provide his or her readers with an interesting and compelling story. In order for me to fulfill the expectation of providing my readers with an interesting and compelling story, I will not be able to be unbiased or impartial in the coming paragraphs.

Bryant and I have never met each other, spoken on the phone, or even corresponded on social media, but over the course of his 20 year career, we have developed a special relationship. Some might ask, “How can you develop a special relationship with someone you have never even spoken to?” My answer to you is simple: I have always dreamed of dunking a basketball like Bryant. Sometimes dreams can be turned into reality, but it was going to be difficult for me to turn this particular dream into a reality. Although I may not have been able to turn this dream into a reality, I did learn a very valuable lesson from this situation. I learned that a person can try to emulate more than just the talents an athlete showcases on the field of play. While most people were admiring Bryant because of his physical talents, I was admiring the intangibles that Bryant possesses, such as his desire, determination, and the unwillingness to let adversity stop him from achieving individual and team goals.

In December, after Bryant announced that he would retire at the conclusion of the season, I wrote a blog entitled Never Easy. In that blog, I wrote about how it is never easy to say goodbye to something that you love. I also commended Bryant for accepting the fact that it was time to write a new chapter in his life. Tonight Bryant’s career comes to a conclusion as the Los Angeles Lakers host the Utah Jazz in their final game of the season. I must be honest, as I write this I am having a difficult time, because I am coming to the realization that I will never be able to watch one of my idols on the court again.

What exactly is Mamba Magic? Well, like some of the things Bryant did on the basketball court, Mamba Magic is an original phrase that is indescribable. If you really insist on knowing the true meaning of the phrase, I would say it perfectly describes the artistry Bryant displayed over the course of his career.

In my final paragraph, as I did in Never Easy, I would like to address Kobe Bean Bryant directly. Mr. Bryant, I believe that music can sometimes explain a situation perfectly. I woke up this morning with the song, Let’s See How Far We’ve Come, by Matchbox 20 resounding in my head. So let’s see how far we’ve come in 20 years. I am sure you read and hear this statement a lot, but I want you to know I truly mean this from the bottom of my heart, you have taught me so many things, not just about basketball, but about life. Watching you from afar, I learned to not let the doubts that people had about my capabilities stop me from achieving my goals. When people questioned whether you would add another championship to your resume for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, to make sure there were no more questions on that subject, you helped the Lakers raise two more Larry O’Brien Trophies in 2009 and 2010. While you and your teammates were winning championships, I was in the process of obtaining a degree in Journalism and Media Studies from Rutgers University. Some people questioned whether I would be able to accomplish this lifelong goal because of my physical limitations, just like the people that questioned whether you would add another championship to your Hall of Fame resume. May 19th will mark three years since I graduated from Rutgers, so I guess you can say we were both successful in answering the questions that people had about us. So how far have we come? Well your journey has taken you from Lower Marion High School in Philadelphia to a road that will eventually lead you to 1000 Hall of Fame Avenue in Springfield, Massachusetts, home of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. As for my road, it is still under construction. I want to thank you for all that you taught me during your illustrious career, even though you never realized you had a student in New Jersey. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors, and I cannot wait until we cross paths in 2021 in Springfield, when your road will officially be completed!