‘I’m More Grateful for My Existence’: How Kobe Bryant’s Death Changed Mike Tyson

Published 12/24/2020, 6:51 AM EST
During the National Anthem Lakers Kobe Bryant points to upward honoring Lakers owner Jerry Buss at the Staples Center Wednesday. Dr. Jerry Buss, died Monday of cancer at age 80. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


Almost 11 months ago, when the news about the death of Kobe Bryant surfaced, it shook the world. Not only was he one of the best basketball players ever, but he was also an inspiration for many.

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Legendary boxer Mike Tyson was also rocked by the ‘Black Mamba‘s death. In an episode of Hotboxin with Mike Tyson podcast featuring Damian Lillard, ‘Iron Mike’ spoke about the impact Kobe’s death had on him. He said:

“I’m a different person now since that happened. I don’t even know what happened, but I’m different… and I like to believe I have more gratitude. I’m more grateful for my existence and the air that I breathe and for my family. I get cocky sometimes and think I can get a lot of people, a lot of broads, and I just need to have more gratitude. I forget about gratitude sometimes… You forget how precious life is.”

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Earlier this year, Tyson had offered his condolences when news of Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s death arrived. He had tweeted, I mourn with the world. Lost a legend. No words. I’m messed up. RIP Kobe Bryant, Gianna and the rest of the passengers.”

Kobe Bryant and his legacy

Kobe Bryant started out with the Los Angeles Lakers as the 13th pick in the 1996 draft. Jerry West, who was the Lakers’ general manager, claimed that the 18-year-old was in for greatness. This turned out to be true.

Bryant had a slow start in the NBA but eventually developed into a superb guard and replaced the starting shooting guard Eddie Jones. ‘Mamba’ ultimately became one of the best guards of the game and formed a great partnership with Shaquille O’Neal. This duo went on to win three championships before Shaq’s departure.

(Boston, Mass. June 8th 2008) Lakers Kobe Bryant walks off the court at the end of the game as Celtic fans celebrate in Game 2 of the NBA Championship Sunday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Kobe later added two more rings, taking his tally to five championships. In his 20-year long career, Kobe made 18-All-Star appearances and made 15 All-NBA teams.

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After his retirement, Kobe was much more involved with his family. He was focused on making his daughter Gigi Bryant a better player and even had his own sports academy named Mamba Sports Academy.

Kobe was unlike other superstars. He was in to make a difference and was ready to do anything to make that change. His death was a tragedy and will continue to leave a void in every sports fan.

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Aditya Mohapatra

704 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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