Sports legend Kobe Bryant Passes Away

Much of society took to the Internet to pay their respects to Kobe Bryant, as well as to mourn the other crash victims. This tragedy impacted far more people than just NBA fans.

Mashable

Much of society took to the Internet to pay their respects to Kobe Bryant, as well as to mourn the other crash victims. This tragedy impacted far more people than just NBA fans.

Lilyann Belcher, Staff Writer

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter, Gianna, 13, were confirmed dead in a helicopter crash Sunday afternoon.  The fiery crash took place over Calabasas, California killing all eight passengers and the pilot aboard the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter.  

The helicopter crashed far from homes or roadways, but the brush fire, ignited as a result of the crash, delayed first-responders arrival at the crash site.  

Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers for his entire 20 year professional basketball career, retiring in 2016 as a basketball legend.  He was a five time NBA champion, two time NBA Finals MVP, and 18 consecutive NBA All-Star.  

Bryant was active on Instagram congratulating Lebron James on surpassing him for third on NBA’s all time scoring list just 15 hours before the crash.  It would be his last social media post.  

Bryant followed in his father’s, Joe “JellyBean” Bryant’s, footsteps.  Kobe Bryant lived with his two sisters and parents in Italy while his father played in the Italian league in 1984 after his career in the NBA and was active in soccer and basketball from an early age.  

When his family moved to Philadelphia in 1991, Bryant joined Lower Merion High School’s basketball team, leading the Aces to four state championships.  Bryant was drafted as the 13th overall draft pick to the Charlotte Hornets, but was quickly traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal in 1996 and won the next three NBA Championships in ’96, ’97, and ‘98.  Two years into his NBA Career with the Lakers, he was voted onto the 1998 All-Star team, becoming the youngest NBA All-Star at just 19 years of age.  After O’Neal left the Lakers in 2004, the shooting guard continued to shine, leading the league in scoring in 2006 and 2007.  

In 2008, Bryant played along side basketball stars Kevin Durant and Lebron James in the 2008 and 2010 Olympics, winning two gold medals for the US.  The Lakers won the next two NBA Championships in 2009 and 2010, the most recent NBA title for the team.  

Bryant’s final years of his professional career were plagued with injuries, including tearing his achilles in 2013, but he didn’t walk off the court immediately after the injury.  He finished the play, taking and making two free throw shots before retiring to the locker room. Tim S. Grover, Bryant’s long-time sports doctor, outlined Bryant’s resilience, especially during his 2013 games, in his novel “Relentless.”    

Bryant’s final injury came in January of 2015 when he tore his rotator cuff.  Nine months later, he announced he would retire at the end of the 2015 season.  After his retirement, Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner said, “Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in the history of our game.”  

Bryant wrote a short poem entitled “Dear Basketball” at the end of his career, which was turned into a movie of the same title.  The Disney produced movie went on to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2018.

Bryant partnered with After-School All-Stars, a non-profit after school program for kids and ran a summer school camp for young, aspiring basketball players after his retirement.

His second daughter, Gianna, was following in her father and grandfather’s footsteps with hopes to be in the WNBA.  Bryant proudly coached his daughter and her AAU teammates in California and was reportedly on his way to a travel ball game.

Bryant was as inspirational off the court as his play was on the court.  His death reverberated across the country and tributes flooded social media for the father of four.  The game will miss him, but, as he said in “Dear Basketball,” “its time to say goodbye.”

Gianna and Kobe Bryant are survived by his wife Vanessa Bryant and their three other daughters, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.