In Memoriam: Kobe Bryant

Aidan King, Staff Writer

On January 26, 2020, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna, 13, died in a helicopter accident in Calabasas, California. Even if you have never watched basketball before, you probably still know who Kobe Bryant is. He was an incredible basketball player who is widely regarded as one of the best of all time.
Kobe played for the LA Lakers for his entire career and won 5 NBA championships with the team. He was an 18-time all-star and the 2008 league MVP. He notably played alongside basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, with whom he won three straight championships. Despite past tensions, the two maintained immense respect for each other over the years. In regards to Bryant’s death Shaq said on his TNT basketball talk show, “I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while… I lost two grandmothers, lost my sister, and now, I’ve lost a little brother.” At the Grammys Kobe was honored multiple times, and the Lakers paid homage with a tribute before and during their game against the Portland Trailblazers. Lebron James made a heartfelt speech and vowed to continue Kobe’s legacy of hard work and persistence.
Lebron played alongside Bryant for Team USA in the Olympic Games. As captain of Team USA, Kobe was able to win two Olympic gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. He is also the NBA’s fourth highest scoring player of all time. Kobe’s successes are often accredited to his incomparable work ethic, dubbed the “Mamba Mentality.” He was incredibly committed to his craft and pushed himself along with his teammates to their breaking points, in order to drive them to being the absolute best they could be. After he retired, his Mamba Mentality ensured that he wouldn’t rest. In 2018, Bryant won an Oscar for his animated short film, Dear Basketball.
Even though he was a great basketball player, there is still something he was able to do better ー be a devoted father. He had four girls, one of whom was on the plane with him as he died, and he loved being a dad. In interviews people always asked him if he wanted to have a boy, and he would always answer that he didn’t because he loved his girls and that his daughter Gianna was more than capable of carrying on his basketball legacy. Many people who were close to him said the last three years, being able to spend more time with his family was the happiest they had seen him.
Kobe Bryant was one of the biggest icons of the 21st century. His legacy as a basketball player is legendary but in the end, the world is saying goodbye to not just a basketball player, but a family man and also his promising daughter who he so deeply adored. Kobe had a lot left to give to the world, and losing him and Gianna is a heartbreaking tragedy. As Lebron said, “In the words of Kobe Bryant, ‘Mamba Out,’ but in the words of us, not forgotten.”