Former-NBA athlete, Kobe Bryant, was tragically killed in a helicopter crash that took place in the Calabasas community of California on Sunday morning, Jan. 26, 2020 at the age of 41 years-old. Alongside him during the crash was his 13-year old daughter, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, and seven other passengers: John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester and the pilot – Ara Zobayan. According to CBS Sports, the group of nine on the helicopter was en route to the Mamba Sport’s Academy, a training center for amateur and pro athletes co-founded by the “Black Mamba” himself, Kobe Bryant. He left behind his wife, Vanessa Laine Bryant, and three daughters – Natalia Diamante Bryant, Bianka Bella Bryant and Capri Kobe Bryant. According to the LA Times, the helicopter crash is currently under Federal investigation.
Kobe Bryant was best known for his moves on the court and his multiple achievements playing on the Los Angeles Lakers team for a consecutive 20-seasons. At the age of 17-years old, he co-signed to play for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1996 NBA Draft – after being recruited straight out of high school from his hometown of Philadelphia. This is where his life changed. He became one of the NBA’s greatest players, winning five NBA championships in his entire career. At the age of 34-years old, Bryant became the youngest player in the league’s history to accumulate 30,000 basketball points in his career. In 2016, he decided to retire from basketball and focus on other endeavors, such as fathering his children. However, he would still go and support the Los Angeles Lakers team when they had home games. According to a 2010-GQ Profile, Bryant would fly his private helicopter to Lakers games that were in Orange County.
He motivated many young athletes and people around the world through his drive for basketball, as well as his positive outlook on life. The one individual most motivated by his success was his daughter, Gianna Bryant, who also passed away on Sunday, Jan. 26. Gianna, best known as Gigi, possessed a love for basketball just like her father. She participated in travel basketball, with plans on playing for the University of Connecticut and the Women’s National Basketball Association, as explained in an interview by Kobe Bryant on the Jimmy Kimmel Night Show. While Kobe’s death came at a shock to many, Gigi’s death is seen as the loss of a future-pro athlete by the sport’s community. Like her father, she had a natural talent for athleticism and had the potential to play for the Women’s National Basketball Association.
While Kobe Bryant was successful on the court, he did a lot outside of the NBA as well. Upon his retirement in 2016, he wrote and narrated the Screenplay, Dear Basketball, which was screened in 2017. One year later, Bryant was nominated for an Oscar and won for the Best Animated Short Film of 2018. Along with his film-endeavors, he was also a businessman. In 2013, Kobe founded the Bryant Stibel Company alongside Jeff Stibel. The company focuses on providing businesses with modern-day support for media, technology and data. The Bryant Stibel Company even donated funds to Kobe’s screenplay in order to see it successfully come to a reality.
The death of Kobe Bryant genuinely affected those around the world – from Los Angeles, California to Riette, Italy. Globally, people have watched Kobe Bryant play basketball from 1996 to 2016. He has impacted the lives of those all around the world and his legacy will continue to do so.