On Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, along with seven others, lost their lives in a helicopter crash on the way to Gianna’s basketball game that Bryant was set to coach in.
As the sports community, and the entire community in general, continues to mourn the death of Bryant and the other passengers, sports teams around the world have found unique ways to honor his legacy by way of their respective platforms.
Most commonly, shortly after the news broke, teams throughout the NBA began games by taking 24-second shot clock violations and eight second violations for not crossing the ball past half-court. These steps were intended to pay tribute to Bryant’s jersey numbers he wore during his legendary career, no. 8 for the first ten years of his career and no. 24 for the latter part of his 20 seasons.
Bryant’s impact stretched further than the basketball community that day.
Other tributes were made during the NFL Pro Bowl, a French soccer player dedicated a goal to Bryant, and that evening the Grammy Awards ceremony took time to pay his tribute, as the event was held at the STAPLES Center, the Lakers’ home arena.
That Sunday, the Creighton basketball team defeated Big East foe Xavier, 77-66, in Creighton’s annual Coaches vs. Cancer Pink Out game, a game dedicated to showing support of cancer awareness.
Midway through the first half, junior Mitch Ballock, the wearer of no. 24 for the Bluejays, launched and splashed a three-pointer from the half-court logo of CHI Health Center Omaha.
In what he deemed to not be a coincidence, there was 8:24 left on the game clock and eight seconds left on the shot clock when Ballock released the ball from his hands, making for, to say the least, something worth noting.
Barstool Jays took to Twitter, posting the clip of the shot from the game and saying, “YOU CAN'T TELL ME THIS DIDN'T HAVE SOME MAMBA ENERGY BEHIND IT. THAT'S A 3 FROM THE LOGO FROM 24.”
The tweet was followed up with another post from Barstool Jays saying, “I don't want this to sound insensitive, but this shot was taken at 8:24 with 8 seconds left from the player wearing 24 on his back. Thought that was pretty remarkable.”
In response to the tweets, Ballock simply responded via Twitter, “Unbelievable. In life, there are no coincidences. Rest in peace to a legend.”
Without a doubt, the so-called “Mamba Mentality” pushes on with Ballock and the rest of the Bluejay squad, as since then, they have knocked off then no. 8 Villanova and now find themselves at 17-6 overall, only two games from first place in the Big East at a 6-4 conference record.