Kobe Bryant, just like any American athlete, was nothing short of arrogant and competitive. He was, however, in so many ways completely special.
Fans from teams other than the Lakers could do nothing but hate him. How could you not? The guy scored 81 points in a single game. He won 5 titles. He was a 7-time NBA finalist. He was picked 18 times to the NBA All-Star game and even won the Slam Dunk contest.
His domination of the league was something that you only see a few times in a lifetime. In many games, when it seemed nothing would save the Lakers from defeat, Kobe was there to lead them to a comeback.
Players from the 2000s generation recognized Kobe's greatness. Some superstars like Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, and Derrick Rose referred him as their generation's Jordan. Fans and the media completely agreed, and even commissioner Adam Silver had him as "one of the greatest players in the history of our game".
Turmoil was also a big part of his life. After the 2003 sexual assault allegations, his reputation seemed to be gone. He lost many of his endorsements, but, resilient as ever, he was able to bounce back and continue his career with great success. And that success far surpassed basketball as he was the image to many brands and videogames unrelated to his sport. He even made it to cover of ESPN Magazine just for being a fan of FC Barcelona.
Kobe also ventured into music and business with various projects. Perhaps, the most well-known example of his genius outside the court is "Dear Basketball", a short filmed narrated by him based on the letter he wrote to The Players' Tribune when announcing his retirement, which earned him an Academy Award in 2018.
The 20 years of joy he gave us while in the purple and yellow jersey will not be forgotten. Like him or not, his legacy can't be denied. RIP Kobe Bryant.