May 23, 2024

Kobe Bryant’s final project, the young adult novel “The Wizenard Series: Season One,” was released March 31, leaving fans emotional and nostalgic.

Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, announced the first teaser of the book release on her Instagram, leaving fans eager to read the final words of the former Los Angeles Lakers player.

Bryant collaborated on this series with writer Wesley King, an award-winning author of eight novels.

The book is about a young basketball player, Reggie, who aspires to greatness in the world of basketball, but instead finds himself a benchwarmer for the West Bottom Badgers, which happens to be the worst team in the league.

Through obstacles ranging from his gym to his coach, Rolabi Wizard, Reggie feels discouraged because he feels like the world is working against him. Reggie knows that he is destined to be one of the greatest players of all time but he will face hardships and struggles on his journey.

Asher Arvinger, senior journalism and new media major and player on California Baptist University’s basketball team, said he has heard of the Wizenard series books.

“I was a huge Kobe fan. I think almost everyone is when you either grow up in Southern California or play basketball. Kobe wrote books on basketball, but it was also the fact that he was passionate about storytelling in sports in general,” Arvinger said.

Arvinger said he believes that Kobe’s creativity led people to let their own imaginations grow.

“Kobe is going to be remembered because he’s iconic. He touched so many areas – not just in sports but in life. He taught us so many lessons that you can apply whether you played basketball or not,” Arvinger said. “Along with being the best basketball player I’ve ever watched, he was one of the best people I’ve ever watched from a distance.”

Arvinger also highlighted why Bryant is special to him.

“He always was pushing for everyone to be the best version of themselves. Inspiration for every basketball player. He showed us that anything was achievable with hard work, a strong work ethic and a dream,” Arvinger said.

Isaac White, junior sociology major and on the CBU basketball team, said he did not know Kobe had written books but is interested in reading them in the future.

“I was always inspired by his approach to the game. It’s hard to deny that he was one of the most dedicated and elite workers to play the game and I have learned a lot from his journey. He was always a superstar but I took a particular liking to his work ethic and leadership skills,” White said.

White has grown up in the world of basketball and said he has been inspired by Bryant because of his strategies and natural talent for the sport.

“I did see his short animation (“Dear Basketball”). It sent chills down my spine. That’s the stuff that really gets me going. It was an incredible piece and I continue to watch it every now and again,” White said. “I would definitely like to read his book one day. Kobe will be remembered because of his love and respect for the game. He will be forever known as a purist who dedicated his all to the game.”

Michael Marse, assistant professor of communication studies and director of the forensics program, said he was not aware Bryant released two books in the past few years.

“Due to his unfortunate death, he will be remembered in the same vein as Jimi Hendrix or Pete Maravich, as someone who passed too soon. We never saw him as an old man, and so he will be in his prime in the minds of his fans forever,” Marse said.

Marse said that Bryant’s ideas were powerful and led him toward leadership, which is shown throughout both of his books.

“As someone who works at CBU, I noticed the profound emotional impact of Kobe’s passing on our students. The only similar event was the passing of Nipsey Hussle last year. Some students didn’t know what happened, and others were offended it wasn’t a bigger deal on campus,” Marse said.

“The Wizenard Series: Season One” is a follow-up to “The Wizenard Series: Training Camp,” which was released in 2019 and became a New York Times bestseller.

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