On Sunday, January 26th, 2020 the world lost cultural icon and future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant. At 9:47 AM the L.A. County authorities received a call regarding a helicopter crash and quarter-acre brush fire in Calabasas, California. Responders shortly concluded that nine individuals, including L.A. legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, passed away in what seemed like a nightmare for everyone.
The NBA family and wide range of sports enthusiasts mourn with his three daughters and widow Vanessa Bryant. People remember Kobe Bryant as a Laker for life, NBA champion, NBA MVP, and basketball royalty. However, Kobe was so much more than “just an athlete.” He affected audiences from every age group, race, and gender because of his unmatched tenacity, work ethic and fierce competitiveness. TERRA senior Fransisco Santiago shared his words on this devastation by stating “ Kobe was my idol on and off the court, he showed me how to be a cold blooded scorer and a dedicated leader.”
On Sunday evening, every NBA team paid tribute by receiving a 24 second violation and an 8 second backcourt violation. This was in memory of both numbers Kobe wore in his 20 year career. NBA superstars Trae Young and Joel Embiid wore number 8 and 24 to represent both numbers Kobe wore in his 20 year career. Other stars including Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Devin Booker and many more were brought to tears. Even known “rivals” such as Michael Jordan, Paul Pierce, Shaquille O’neal, Gary Payton and Doc Rivers were heart broken. TERRA junior Dylan Gonzalez expressed “ He was respected by everyone in the league, from teammates to coaches to every competitor he faced. Many replicated his mamba mentality in everyday things such as work and school showing how much of an icon he really was.”
Kobe Bryant was drafted in 1996 by the Charlotte Hornets with the 13th overall pick out of Lower Merion High School. At the time he was the youngest player to be drafted in NBA history at the age of 17. On draft day the Hornets traded this young, hungry phenom to the Los Angeles Lakers after he was told there was “no need for him.” The rest was history. After spending 20 seasons in the NBA as a Laker, Kobe left his mark on the league. His countless accolades include an 18X All Star, 2X scoring champion, 15X All-NBA, 12X all defense, 2X finals MVP, 2007-2008 league MVP and 5X NBA champion. He averaged 25 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, and 4.7 assists per game throughout his unbelievable career. Kobe is considered a future Hall of Famer, top 10 player, one of the greatest scorers and the greatest Laker ever by many individuals. His legacy will live on in his family, the Lakers organization and through every sports fanatic in the world. “Mamba Out.”