"A Prayer for Kobe and Gianna"  ©2020 Stephen Holding
had been familiar with Kobe Bryant since his early days playing for the LA Lakers, but it wasn’t until I began designing basketball graphics for Nike Asia Pacific Apparel that I really became familiar with his uniquely dynamic playing style. I especially responded to how he would drop his center of gravity right before he would go on the attack, similar to how a spring contracts prior to being released. However it was what happened after this contraction that truly set Kobe apart. It was like watching a focused explosion of energy that would render even the most skilled defenses stunned, dividing them and leaving them on their heels. It was this attacking style that also made Kobe capture a formidable threat on the Soccer pitch, as he played in Italy as a child when he moved there at the age of 6 with his father and NBA star Joe Bryant. However he ultimately applied his talents to Basketball, and the rest is history.
Gianna Bryant  (May 1, 2006 – January 26, 2020) was inspired to play basketball by Kobe and was determined to follow in her father’s footsteps. With her determination, natural athletic ability and Kobe’s expert coaching at the Mamba Sports Academy she was very much on her way to doing exactly that. With aspirations to play for the University of Connecticut and later for the WNBA, she was frequently seen alongside her father and expressed her determination to follow his path and rise to greatness in her own right. However after the tragic events that happened on January 26th 2020, the world will sadly never know.
I feel extraordinarily fortunate to have had the opportunity to translate Kobe Bryant's one-of-a-kind style into graphic form while at Nike Asia Pacific Apparel. While I was never able to meet him, he would review the graphics I'd submit and would give the final approval once the designs were the best that they could be. To get the seal of approval from someone who clearly has a very high standard of excellence was a huge compliment and definitely goes down as one of my all-time career highlights. He left behind a truly unforgettable legacy to inspire future generations and will be dearly missed by his family, his friends, and the millions of Basketball fans worldwide who witnessed him change the game forever.
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