Saying Goodbye to a Legend

Jessica Branch, Staff Writer

On January 28th, the world lost a basketball legend. Kobe Bean Bryant, the legendary shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, most famously known as just Kobe, was taken from the world in a helicopter crash at the age of 41. Kobe was a 5 time NBA champion, 2-time Finals MVP,  NBA MVP in 2008, 18-time all-star, and 2-time Olympic gold medalist. Kobe was known for his no-excuses attitude – always training, always working. He leaves behind his wife, Vanessa, and his 3 children ages 17, 3, and 7 months. 

Eight other people perished in the crash, including Kobe’s daughter, Gianna. She was 13. Among the others were John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli – a college baseball coach, his wife, and his daughter, who played with Gianna. Sarah and Payton Chester also died; Payton also played with Gianna. Christina Mauser, defensive specialist for the travel basketball team, and Ara Zobayan, the pilot, also perished. The helicopter was going to Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California for Gianna’s basketball tournament that Kobe was coaching. Gianna showed much potential in the sport, dreaming of one day playing for Geno Auriemma at the University of Connecticut and then in the WNBA. Two days after the crash, UCONN set aside a #2 jersey (Gianna’s number) for their game against Team USA. 

Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s deaths have affected not just the city of Los Angeles, but the whole entire world. Tributes have poured in, with basketball teams taking a 24-second violation and an 8-second violation (both of the numbers Kobe wore). Soccer star Neymar held up 24 after he scored a goal. Singer Lizzo said, “tonight is for Kobe” before her Grammy’s performance. In front of her were Kobe’s retired jerseys illuminated in the rafters of the Staples Center. Hundreds of people have gathered outside the place that Kobe built, the Staples Center, to pay their respects. 

Not everybody is a basketball fan, but everybody is a Kobe fan. Kobe represented hard work, determination, and perseverance throughout his 20-year career as a Laker. A whole entire generation shouts “Kobe!” when throwing anything, even a crumpled up piece of paper into a basket. Kobe was the epitome of a winner, and in turn made everybody, his family, his teammates, and his fans, into winners too. The world will never again have another person like Kobe, so we must celebrate the incredible life that was Kobe Bryant.