Kobe Bryant: “I Wanted to be Darryl Strawberry”

Kobe Bryant

The sad and shocking news of basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s passing on Sunday has elicited responses and condolences from around the globe. It also is bringing to the surface many of the great stories and legends behind this iconic man, who touched the lives of so many.

We offer our condolences to the Bryant family and the families of the other victims of the California helicopter crash that took the lives of Bryant, his 13 year-old daughter Gianna and seven others on Sunday.

Here’s a quick factoid about Kobe that many may not have known. Although he grew up in the Philadelphia area, Kobe was a New York Mets fan.

Those players, of course, were part of the powerhouse Mets teams of the 1980s. Bryant, who was born in 1978 would have been and impressionable eight year old when the Mets were on top of the baseball world in the mid-late 80s, so yes, this is believable.

And it makes sense. Those Mets teams were bold, talented and had swagger. Bryant was undaunted and courageous in life as well. Of course, he went on to become a Dodgers fans after spending so much time in LA but as a kid, he found those Mets hard to resist.

Strawberry was an LA local legend out of Crenshaw High School and there were many Darryl fans in LA and around the country. He was an inspiration to many youngsters back then but didn’t realize the impact he had. Only in his later years did Strawberry come to realize his fame and influence.

The fact that he had an impression on Kobe and his generation is telling.