Hi everyone and welcome back to #Simsity, the official Henry Sims’s blog. Last month I explained the reasons why I decided to start this blog and I wrote about the first months in Bologna with the Fortitudo jersey.
Here I am, again with headphones on my ears and the computer in my hands to tell you about January, the first of an already very intense 2020. Calling Niro 3 by Devin McCoy and the songs of Griselda have been the soundtrack to my days, my away games and my trainings; even now that I’m about to write my playlist with Devin McCoy and Griselda is playing. Time to remember and start writing.
The beginning of the year is always filled with promises and resolutions on the one hand and very high tempo on the other hand that somehow hamper your will, just like it happens on the basketball court in an intense and fast game. The first great reiterated lesson since the beginning of 2020 that still rings in my ears is that you can never lose concentration from the goal, even for a split second. This is why we lost 3 games, making untimely mistakes in crucial moments, yet “we never lost heart and we worked hard to return to victory together, as a team”.
Then Sunday, January 26 came, the day of the late in the 20th round of the LBA against Varese. In the first leg they won 83-60 and this time, winning meant a lot to us: we would stop the negative losing streak, regained the confidence we needed and we would honour one of the GOAT, Kobe Bryant, who passed away only few minutes before the match.
I heard about his death while I was warming up and couldn’t believe it. He was an icon for me and for entire generations, a role model and someone to look up to, both as a man and as an athlete: he embodied the idea of sacrifice and commitment. His mental strength led him to success each time he challenged himself. I was upset and my whole life flashed before my eyes, bringing to the surface all those moments when I had to struggle to get what I wanted, get back up after every fall and fight on, doing my best not to fall again. And there he was, Kobe has always been part of those moments: his records and his ‘Mamba mentality’ inspired me, as they proved that will and power ‘were closely connected to each other and that impossible was nothing’.
At that very moment I realized that I was in midfield, facing my opponent, to get the tip-off. With three L in a streak, I thought of Kobe’s strength, I thought about how lucky I was to be with my team, surrounded by our fans, always there to support us and I had an adrenaline kick, completely focusing on the match.
The match against Varese was frenetic, intense and very physical; they are a good team and beat them is not at all easy, especially because they always manage to stay in the game. In the last minutes of the game we remained united, Pietro scored a very important basket, we defended well and they missed the extra time basket. I got the rebound on the last shot, I caught it and saw the stopwatch arriving at 00.00. We won, we went back to victory in front of our big family, in the name of a Legend like Kobe Bryant.
Back in the locker room, I turned on the phone and found out more details about Kobe’s death: he was in a helicopter with 8 other people, including his little daughter Gianna (Gigi for everyone) who was a splendid girl, as well as a basketball shining light. I cannot even imagine such a pain and a tragedy that will remain forever etched in our memory.