By Adena Jones

Here we are on the second Mamba Day without the Mamba. When I worked at media companies as a Director of Social Media over the past years, this day was one I always looked forward to. It was a time to celebrate one of the most gifted athletes of my generation. Lots of planning and research went into place to make sure Kobe Bryant’s greatness was honored. After retirement, his legacy grew and so did his impact on culture as he want along to win an Oscar for “Dear Basketball.”

Now Mamba Day has a more somber tone. One that, this year, I didn’t even feel like celebrating. I didn’t want to make a social media post, I didn’t want to highlight Kobe kicks on our site, and I didn’t even want to write this piece because it made me sad. As I was coordinating the creation of a Mamba Day graphic, it pained me to put his face on it, knowing that we’d never see it again. I don’t want to remember Kobe but want to still experience him. 

Ironically, while Kobe was living, he wasn’t my favorite player and I don’t think I ever really rooted for the Lakers (I’m a tortured Knicks fan and LeBron worshiper… don’t ask). But for some reason, posthumously he has a hold on me. I think it’s mostly because of the potential lost. Even though he soared through the air on the court, he still hadn’t reached his highest point in life. 

Maybe it’s fitting that we remember Kobe as an ever-rising figure in our memories, that way he never really falls. He just stays suspended in greatness, above the rim like we loved to see him each game.