LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — After playing nearly 20 seasons in the NBA, Kobe Bryant could've done whatever he wanted when he retired in 2016. But, he chose to give back to the game, often attending games and hosting clinics, especially for female athletes.
HERoes League, an adult women's basketball league in Las Vegas, continues to honor the life and legacy of Kobe Bryant, one year after his tragic death. The league's founder and a couple of players explained to 13 Action News why.
"When I think of Kobe Bryant, I think of leadership. I think authenticity and being yourself and honoring your journey," said Erin Bies, one of the 80 to 100 women who compete weekly in the HERoes Basketball League.
When it comes to basketball, Kobe Bryant's competitiveness is unquestioned and his impact is immeasurable.
"Everything that he believes in and exploited on the court, that’s exactly what I do. I push my teammates just like he does. I push myself just like he does," said Trenia Barbee, another HERoes League player.
But to these three ladies, and to female ballers around the world, Kobe Bryant was even bigger than basketball.
"When I’m really challenged with old stories or limiting beliefs or something like that, I remember Kobe," said Bies.
"It’s excellence, integrity, and discipline in everything that you do," she said, "whether you’re running a business or you’re a parent."
"When you watch Kobe, you feel like you can be great too," said Jennifer Miller-Gonzalez, the founder of HERoes league. She says it was a conversation she had with Kobe that inspired her then and still today.
"To hear him talk about his role and what his vision was for the team and wanting to be a leader, it resonated so much with me," said Miller-Gonzalez.
"I heard him say his mission was to give women an opportunity, and it's like, if that’s Kobe‘s mission, that’s my mission too," she said. "I want to be able to know that every girl has a voice and they should use it and it’s powerful."
Today, her HERoes league continues to carry on Kobe's legacy in Las Vegas, not only with the purple and gold "24" proudly displayed on the backs of their jerseys but with the "Mamba mentality" Kobe made so famous.
"Mamba mentality just means put in the work, mean what you say, and do as you do. Don’t tell me about it, show me. You know?" said Barbee.
"It's getting back into the things that we know we need to do. But not just doing them, doing them to a standard of excellence that inspires others around us," added Bies.
You can learn more about the HERoes Basketball League by clicking this link.