The Crazy 8’s.

“Basketball, beats and broads”.

Bucket Hats.

The Forum.

Ever since I was 5 years old I was the prototypical MJ fan but there’s always been something about Kobe that had me interested. He’s the only player that I feel like had MJ’s respect as an equal; a maniacal competitor that would “rip your heart out to win’ like the Birds and Magics of the world. Jordan would obviously have something to say about that but the 1997 NBA All Star Video of Kobe and MJ, seemingly sharing notes, was one of the more iconic clips played on the non-stop tribute coverage this past week.

When MJ walked away from the Bulls in ’98, I officially started following the next best thing. Kobe. The Answer and Kobe were my guys after MJ. I had the Questions and Crazy 8’s in multiple colors, and watched confetti fall in the former First Union Arena on Kobe and Shaq at the 2001 finals, watching both budding superstars in their seeminglinly first of many finals battles. Certainly the case for Kobe, not so much for AI.

I idolized these guys and mimicked their every move on Saturday mornings at my local youth hoops leagues in Scranton, PA.

But I think the biggest thing I’ll remember from Kobe was an article I read the week before his tragic death about his new found interest in the NBA, outside of his usual mentorship of guys like Kyrie, Kawahi, and others, passing on the “Mamba Mentality’ to the next generation of hoopers. Kobe’s daughter Gianna, who was also tragically killed in the accident, had begged her dad to get NBA League Pass so they could watch games together, as she started to blossom into a young hooper herself. I knew absolutely nothing about Kobe’s daughter. But that stood out to me. Kobe’s 13 year old daughter was destined to be a superstar. She had all the resources. And most impertinently, SHE wanted to to be like her dad. Feel like we grow up in a time where parents are more into their kids’ sports careers than the their kids. Almost trying to right their own failures as athletes growing up. Alright “failures” might be a strong word but the dad-screaming-at-his-kid-because-he-want-his-kid-to-be-a-star is all too familiar.

I think the parent needs the kid to come to them with their own desire to be great, not the other way around. I think Gianna was well on her way.

Check out a few tributes around the advertising world and was super pumped to see one of my own make the cut.

Kobe Bryant —OOH 30 Creative Tributes