In Loving Memory: Kobe Bryant
It was breaking news on January 26, 2020: A helicopter had crashed in Calabasas, California and there were no survivors.
Onboard was beloved basketball player and American hero, Kobe Bryant. He was 41-years old.
Confirmed deceased following the tragic crash was Bryant’s 13-year old daughter, Gianna Bryant, seasoned pilot Ara Zobayan, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, and Alyssa Altobelli. After the news broke about the helicopter crash, and once all were identified, people around the world grieved with the affected families.
Though the cause of the crash has not yet been released, it’s being theorized that the crash may have been due to low visibility in California on Sunday.
Kobe Bryant, born August 23, 1978, quickly rose to stardom after high school when he was drafted first round and thirteenth overall. Since the start of his career, Bryant set numerous records and became a household name for sports fans all over the world. Bryant was an 18-time All-Star and a 15-time member of the All-NBA Team. In 2008, he was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.
Not only was Bryant a brilliant athlete, but (above all), he was a loving husband and a supportive father of four daughters. Bryant leaves behind his wife of 19 years, Vanessa Bryant. The pair met when Vanessa was only 17 and Bryant was 21. They quickly got engaged before standing at the altar on April 18, 2001. Despite Bryant’s record-fast speed to fame, the couple was together for nearly two decades.
His oldest daughter, Natalia, was born in January 2013. Gianna, who was also on the helicopter with Bryant at the time of the crash, was born in May 2006. Bianka, the second youngest, was born in December 2016. And lastly, his daughter who was only eight months old at the time of the crash, Capri Bryant. Bryant was an active supporter of his daughters’ aspirations. Kobe and Gianna were spotted only a day before their passing at Gianna’s basketball game at Mamba Sports Academy. He coached the team as they fearlessly took the court – with Gianna following in the footsteps of her incredible father.
When asked about being a role model, Bryant said: “The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do.”
During his career, Bryant was not only a basketball all-star, but he was a role model to millions of people across the world. Despite the challenges he faced in his life, he was a true inspiration for overcoming adversity, following your dreams and doing the impossible.
When speaking about life’s struggles and difficulties, Bryant said “Have a good time. Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, smile and just keep on rolling.”
Teammates and other American basketball players have spoken out about their profound hurt in the face of Bryant’s untimely passing. On January 27, only a day after the crash, Shaquille O’Neal spoke about his great admiration and respect for Bryant. O’Neal said, “Look when I won the first championship, who was the first guy to jump in my arms? Kobe. He is going to be remembered. Everyone is going to honor him, but for me, this is going to hurt [for] a long time.”
The day after the tragedy, former U.S. President Barack Obama took to twitter to speak about Bryant’s legacy and to send condolences to the grieving family. He wrote: “Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful [as] a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.”
During his career, Bryant faced powerful setbacks that tested his skills as a basketball player and as a role model. In 2003, he faced a serious allegation of which charges were later dropped. Despite this, Bryant stayed strong in the face of adversity and continued to power on as a basketball player, role model, husband, and father.
And now, following the sudden passing of “Mamba”, the world is mourning a brilliant basketball player, incredible athlete, loving husband, supportive father, and a true asset and icon to the world.