On January 26th, the world came to a stop with the news of the legendary Kobe Bryant tragically passing away. Kobe Bryant, along with 8 other passengers, passed away from a dreadful helicopter accident on their way to a basketball tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks. Among those lost, respectfully, includes:
— Kobe Bryant - 41 — Kobe Bryant, also known as “The Black Mamba,” is the epitome of a legend. The father, husband, son, and brother spent 20 years in the NBA, all of them with the Los Angeles Lakers. When he retired in 2016, his impressive resume included being a five-time world champion, 18-time All-Star, fourth on the all-time scoring list, and two-time gold medalist with the U.S. basketball team. He was also married to his wife, Vanessa, for 19 years and together they had 4 daughters, including their 13-year-old, Gianna, who also sadly passed away in the accident.
— Gianna Bryant - 13 — Gianna Bryant, Kobe’s daughter, is known to remind people that Kobe never needed a son to continue his legacy. She was an outstanding basketball player and had the legitimate potential to be a star in the WNBA. People already saw this and she was only 13.
— John Altobelli - 56 — John Altobelli was an extraordinary baseball coach who led the Orange Coast College Pirates to over 700 wins in 27 years. He helped numerous players in Newport Beach earn scholarships to Division 1 programs and earned Coach of the Year in 2019 by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
— Keri Altobelli - 46 — Keri Altobelli was a mother, wife, daughter, and mentor. She was married to John Altobelli and was extremely loyal to her family, supporting them the best that she could.
— Alyssa Altobelli - 13 — Alyssa Altobelli was the daughter of John and Keri Altobelli and was also Gianna’s teammate for their club basketball team that Kobe coached. In the past, Alyssa competed against Gianna and Kobe highly respected her game.
The Bryants and Altobellis were close with each other and have flown together before.
— Christina Mauser - 38 — Christina Mauser was the top assistant coach for the Mamba Sports Academy’s girls’ basketball team. She also led clinics for WNBA players at the Mamba Sports Academy. She put her heart and soul into the game of basketball and was highly respected by the Bryants.
— Ara Zobayan - 50 — Ara Zobayan was a veteran pilot who was well-versed in Los Angeles flight patterns. This was the only pilot Kobe trusted to fly him. Kobe frequently used helicopters as transportations and Ara Zobayan was always in the pilot’s seat.
— Sarah Chester - 45 — Sarah Chester was an unbelievably caring mother who would do anything for her family. She was known to create a sense of community wherever she was.
— Payton Chester - 13 — Payton Chester was one of Gianna and Alyssa’s teammates. She was also known for her passion for basketball and thrived in the Mamba Sports Academy.
Mamba Mentality and Grieving
Here at Practice U, we are still grieving from this tragedy along with the rest of Los Angeles, the United States, and the rest of the world. This tragedy reminds us of one of the many things that Kobe left behind: his attitude. Kobe was known for his “Mamba Mentality” and that was something he preached and something we take to heart at Practice U.
Having a Mamba Mentality in the wise words of the Black Mamba himself is, “... to be able to constantly try to be the best version of yourself. It’s a constant quest to try to be better today than you were yesterday.”
Through this process of grieving that we may all be going through, keeping the Mamba Mentality is crucial. We suggest you empower yourself by getting familiar with the 7 Stages of Grief to help you get through this time. Here are the 7 stages, some people only experience 5 of the stages. They are as follows: 1. Shock and Denial 2. Pain and Guilt 3. Anger and Bargaining 4. Depression 5. The Upward Turn 6. Reconstruction and Working Through It 7. Acceptance and Hope Whenever somebody is going through grief, an injury, or any of the unfortunate set of events that are inevitable in this life, they will gradually:
— Get back up
— Rebound from their personal agony
— Turn the corner and start the path of recovery
— Perform daily routines, self-reflect, and transition to acquire a Mamba Mentality
— Feel and understand the journey of the Mamba Mentality as a personal work of daily routines, growing and staying laser-focused on moving towards self-improvement. It does a body and mind good.
Practice U wants you to take this attitude on and off the field, court, or whatever your craft, skill set or talent may be. This all starts with a commitment to become something greater than yourself. Practice may not make you perfect, but it does show you are improving every time you repeat the work. That is something Kobe was religious about. One of the many examples of his dedication to repetitive work is that he practiced harder and earlier than the world’s best players. During the 2008 Olympics, Dwyane Wade said, “Everybody else just woke up… We’re all yawning, and he’s already three hours and a full workout into his day.” Translation, get up early in the morning or stay up extra hours into the night working on developing you before you interact with the world.
While we are all going through this grieving process of the passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, and the seven other passengers, we are also wanting to encourage you to grieve with the notion of moving towards self-improvement, embracing that Mamba Mentality attitude and put it into practice repeatedly. Once you put the mentality into your daily routine, we want you to incorporate it in every area of your personal and public life. Be the best parent, son, daughter, friend, student and talented worker you can be. In short, Practice U, “the very best of you,” so that you’ll be able to master a higher degree of self, one day at a time.