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Panther Idols: The Heroes Who Inspire Our Panthers

By Maxmillian Robinson

Sports have made an impact on countless people's lives, often inspiring young athletes to work hard to make their dreams come true. Adelphi’s athletes are no exception. Here some of our Panthers tell us who their sports heroes are and why.

“The main athlete that inspired me to be great is [the late] Kobe Bryant,” said men's basketball player Chris Coalmon. “His drive to be great pushed himself to the maximum level and made sacrifices to win championships.”

Kobe Bryant lived by his movement called the mamba mentality. Meaning no matter what you do, to compete and push yourself to the highest extent, leaving your mark as a result. In his case, winning five NBA championships, a Most Valuable Player award (2007) and making 18 all-star appearances in his 20-year career.

Kobe Bryant was not only a terrific athlete, but indeed a loving husband and father to his kids.

Golf player Luke Bucci said that Bryant and Tiger Woods are his heroes.

“[Bryant] and Tiger Woods have inspired me the most to excel and push through boundary after boundary,” Bucci said. “Their composure, persistence and overall personalities always fascinated me and molded my values and the way I am today.”

Track and field member Grace Minikel said that she gets inspiration from long-distance runners Allie Ostrander and Mary Cain.

It’s very clear that hard work, character and consistency over a long period of time make an athlete successful. Unrelated to having any effect on performance, players can also take part in rituals, helping them to put their focus on the game.

“The only ritual I follow isn’t from my favorite player, but I love when Stephen Curry points to the sky before the game,” Coalmon said. “It’s a spiritual reason and it’s the same reason I do it. I ask God to be with me while I play the game I love, to protect me, guide me and allow me to play my hardest.”

Tiger Woods has been a role model for the golfers of today.

While Minikel does not follow a certain ritual, she mentioned that it’s important for her to

“always listen to music” before and during warm-ups. This helps her to get focused on what’s ahead, along with eating a banana pregame snack.

Admiring an athlete can be for any particular reason. There could be something about them you like, or a piece of clothing that they wear. Or even, a crazy story about them.

“One of my favorite Kobe stories is from the 2008 USA Team,” Coalmon said. “Coach K is in his office and Kobe comes up to Coach K and says I want to guard the best player on every team. Coach K looks at him and tells him, he will put him on the best player for each game.

During the Olympics, Kobe guarded and locked up the best player on every team when they played. The reason why Kobe did this was because prior to that NBA season they lost to the Celtics in the NBA finals and he was already preparing himself to guard superstars like [rivals] Paul Pierce and LeBron James. Kobe was always one step ahead with his training and his mentality to win is what sticks with me the most.”

Minikel said she has a favorite story about Mary Cain.

“She had been the fastest girl in America until joining the Nike Oregon project. She was continuously told she needed to keep losing weight to become faster. Due to the emotional and physical abuse she endured, she ended up breaking a total of five bones and developed an eating disorder,” Minikel said. “Now, after quitting the Oregon Project and exposing Nike for what they have done, she is currently training in hopes to compete at the Olympic trials.

After everything she had gone through, she still found the motivation and strength to continue training. Mary Cain is such an inspiring and strong woman. It really shows me that you can overcome and persevere through the struggles you face. You just have to be motivated enough.”

Through adversity, these idols of our student athletes continue the push for greatness. Inspiring and encouraging, anyone can use these stories to help prepare themselves, including our athletes, to brace for the real world.

“[Cain] proved to me that thinner doesn’t mean faster and all runners have different body types and healthy weights,” Minikel said. “As a runner and a woman, it’s very common to compare yourself to others. But as long as you're healthy, fueling your body properly, and feel good, that’s all that matters. She taught me that I know my body best and that I’m stronger than any of my obstacles.”

“[Kobe’s] mentality is what I take from him and the way he trained every single day,” Coalmon said. “He was a great father to all his [four] daughters and a great husband to his wife. He was an inspiration to everyone on how to be great in everything you do.”

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