For Seton Hall senior star guard Myles Powell, the date of January 26, 2020, will be a day that will forever be etched in his mind. That was the day his childhood hero, Kobe Bryant, Bryant’s daughter Gianna, and seven other people perished in a helicopter crash.
Kobe Bryant’s Death Rattles Myles Powell
Impact of Kobe Bryant on Myles Powell
It was an unspeakable tragedy that has reverberated around the world, and honestly, the entire world is still coming to grips with it. The masses are still trying to cope with the heartache. The healing process is something many people are still grappling with.
That includes a national player of the year candidate in Powell.
“(When heard of the news) I texted my loved ones and said tomorrow is never promised and I love you guys,” Powell said. “It hurt my heart. I’m still kind of speechless.”
For someone Powell’s age — just 22 years old — he never got to see Michael Jordan play except in old videos. For his generation, Bryant was his basketball idol. As a natural scorer, Powell had an inclination to look up to Bryant and his flair for theatrics.
“He was the guy that made me pick up a basketball,” Powell said. “When I was younger and I would shoot, I used to say ‘Kobe!’ So little things like that you take for granted.”
Now a senior, he is once again crushing it on the floor. He is averaging 21.4 points per game (second in the Big East and 10th in the country) on 32.3 percent shooting from three-point range. He also adds 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.
His scoring outbursts have him in consideration for All-American status. According to BetOnline.Org, Powell is the current favorite to win national player of the year.
In a game against DePaul on January 29th — and with the Pirates playing lackadaisical and trailing late in the second half — it was Powell who once again took center stage.
Powell’s performance was a perfect microcosm of his ability to put his team on his back and will them to victory. It is something he has done countless times.
In this game for the Pirates, he accounted for a personal 9-0 run late in the game to give Seton Hall a lead it would never relinquish. When the final buzzer sounded, Powell ended up with an even and cosmic-signaling 24 points on the night.
24 was one of Bryant’s professional numbers.
“I’m trying to look at it (Bryant’s untimely death) from the bright side and I finished with 24 points,” Powell said after the game. “I keep telling myself it was for Kobe. I’m going to take it as that’s what God wanted, and he was with me tonight. That 24 was enough for us to get the W. I’m going to keep telling myself that was meant for this team today.”
Powell embodies the value of living every day to its fullest.
Growing up in Trenton, New Jersey there was always trouble awaiting him. Powell’s brother, Noel, is in jail for allegedly shooting a man at a restaurant. His brother is still awaiting trial.
He has also had to deal with many injuries (two this year: a sprained ankle and a concussion that had him miss two games). In his senior year of high school, he had a foot injury and came to Seton Hall overweight.
Powell came to Seton Hall weighing 250 pounds. He has since transformed his body and he is now a lean and sculpted 195 pounds with less than eight percent body fat.
To see Powell up close, you love his commitment to the game. He has been a tireless worker in his four years with the Pirates and he has a chance to become Seton Hall’s all-time leading scorer when it is all said and done.
He is 553 points behind Seton Hall all-time leading scorer Terry Dehere. Powell has nine regular Big East games left and at least one Big East Tournament game and a post-season game thereafter to achieve the feat.
Channeling the ‘Mamba Mentality’
All of his drive to become better comes from his inspiration and admiration of Bryant.
On a much smaller scale, Powell is a lot like Bryant as they play their best when push comes to shove. Both could struggle, but when it’s clutch time, they both had the ability to take over games. Both players had the same mindset as if they were shooting 10-10 or 0-10 from the field.
Kobe’s drive was more well known as the “Mamba Mentality”, which is described in his book.
From Amazon Book Review:
“Mamba mentality is all about focusing on the process and trusting in the hard work when it matters most. It’s the ultimate mantra for the competitive spirit. It started just as a hashtag that came to me one day, and it’s grown into something athletes — and even non-athletes — embrace as a mindset.”
So, it shouldn’t be any surprise that Powell follows this creed every day.
“I’m going to try to carry on that legacy,” Powell said about living out the ‘Mamba Mentality’. “If you know my story, that fits me—the ‘Mamba Mentality’. He’s a Hall of Famer, he’s great. So rest in peace to a legend.”
As Powell said, tomorrow is never promised, and he plays basketball and conducts himself off the floor with that mindset every day. Powell is just another reminder of how the greatness of Bryant has had a profound impact on athletes across many platforms.
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