Moye bringing Mamba Mentality to Valpo
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A.J. Moye wakes up early every morning. He’s been doing it for as long as he can remember.
The alarm sounds and it’s time to go to work.
The alarm rang early on the morning of Jan. 26, 2020 and it was time to go to work, only this day was going to be special.
Moye had a conversation with a friend that morning and then packed up his 20-month-old daughter Bella into the car and drove to the gym which doubled as his office.
Moye and his daughter were sitting on the sidelines of a basketball court, awaiting his friend’s arrival. The friend was on the way to the gym with his own daughter and they were going to meet Bella for the first time.
Kobe Bryant never made it to the gym.
The legendary NBA star and his daughter Gianna were among nine people who died in a tragic helicopter accident on the morning of Jan. 26. Bryant was on his way to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, the same gym where Moye served as the Master Basketball Trainer.
Moye was one of the first people to find out the news after one of Bryant’s assistant coaches came up to him in the gym. He felt the tears welling up as he grabbed his daughter and raced home to wake up his wife, Cynthia, and tell her that one of his close friends was gone.
While Bryant passed away more than three years ago, Moye continues to carry life lessons that he learned from their friendship to this day. The first, and most important, lesson came when Moye was 13 and he met Bryant at a NBA Summer League game in Long Beach. Bryant was playing in his fourth game as a professional and he dropped 36 points on the Phoenix Suns. Moye was within earshot of Bryant when the latter was interviewed by a reporter after the game.
“He was being asked about his work ethic and he told the reporter that it started with having belief in himself,” Moye said. “He said that if he didn’t believe in himself, nobody else would. That triggered something in me.”
Moye has been believing and betting on himself ever since. From his breakout on the national stage as a top recruit out of Atlanta to meeting Bryant again four years later at the famed Adidas ABCD camp. From being part of Bobby Knight’s final recruiting class at Indiana to reaching the 2002 NCAA national championship game with the Hoosiers. From overcoming a stroke that ended his playing career to serving as a basketball confidant for one of the greatest players in NBA history.
To finally achieving his dream of returning to the state of Indiana and to college basketball when Moye was named a Valparaiso men’s basketball assistant coach earlier this week.