That time I met Kobe

Senior Jadin Verduzco, lead anchor for Lancers in the News, recalls his brief encounter with Kobe Bryant.


Photo by Connor Jalbert on Unsplash

I wait nervously with my basketball team, adorned in their camp shirts, outside the photo room. As the door opens, my eyes brighten up as I gaze upon the larger than life figure, the legend himself: Kobe Bryant. I could not contain my excitement. I sprint over to him before everyone else and shake his hand. He smiles warmly as I stutter and tremble.

“Th-thank you, K-Kobe, uh, you’re the best!”

I met my celebrity hero when I was twelve years old. I can say with assurance that this was one of the most joyous and memorable moments of my life.

He was my hero because I was a student and child of the game of basketball since birth.

My first baby outfit was a Lakers onesie. I went to a Lakers game before I could speak.

The only basketball shoes I was allowed to wear were Kobe’s.

Inevitably, I have a broad collection of Kobe and Lakers memorabilia and collectibles.

As he was the cornerstone player of the franchise’s history, it’s only fitting that Kobe was the primary figure to look to for inspiration.

I began getting serious about my fitness when I was twelve. As a novice, it is easy to give up early and settle for second-best.

However, Kobe pushed me to be greater.

I knew that this relentless pursuit of greatness was accomplished by very few people. Kobe was the complete embodiment of this mentality.

— Jadin Verduzco

Watching the film of his gameplay and interviews gave me an in-depth look at what the “Mamba Mentality” was all about.

I knew that this relentless pursuit of greatness was accomplished by very few people. Kobe was the complete embodiment of this mentality.

I was intrigued and invested in this attitude and lifestyle. Surely, it is the most difficult way to live, but the road less traveled brings the greatest rewards.

With that, I began my journey of living and breathing the Mamba Mentality.

My actions from that point forward speak for themselves. I worked my way up to become a confident, hardworking, and intelligent young man in a relatively short amount of time.

I started my own YouTube channel. I achieved a top-tier academic status at my school.

I pushed my body and mind beyond their limits to gain a ton of strength over the course of a few years.

All these accomplishments reflect the lessons that Kobe taught us.

I learned to work relentlessly; to be the first one in the gym and the last one out.

This attitude inspired me to do the impossible.

This is what got me up at four a.m., jumping in an ice-cold shower, and demolishing an entire essay.

This is what pushed me to go out for a workout after coming home at five from a tiring day at school.

This is what spurred me to unleash my creative energy and create ten YouTube videos in one day.

If you were to ask me five years ago if I could do these types of things, I would laugh. I would have never thought this would be possible.

What excites me is that this is only the beginning. Thanks to Kobe, I can look forward to a future of hard work and reward.

Although he’s gone now, Kobe’s legacy and impact will last throughout time, especially in my life.

Read Jadin’s writing at