The Legacy Bryant Leaves

A look into the death of Kobe Bryant, an incident that shook the sports world nationally and here at Archmere

Simi Edeki

US basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, along with seven others, died en-route to a basketball game Sunday when their helicopter crashed into a hill. The foggy weather that day was considered dangerous enough to land the choppers by local police departments.

Kobe Bryant, 41, was considered by many to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He is survived by three daughters, Natalia, Bianka and Capri, and his wife, Vanessa. The news came as a shock to many and tributes poured in from fans, celebrities, and other sports figures. Sophomore Luke Kryka said, “Kobe was really an inspiration for me and many kids around my age and older. We grew up watching him dominate the NBA not just because of talent but because of his insane work ethic and drive. There are not many people who will ever have Kobe’s drive. We lost a great soul and he will be missed.” 

Fans created a makeshift memorial outside of the Staples Center, where Kobe played 17 out of his 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant was also celebrated at the Grammys, which were held at the Staples Center later that night.  Tributes have been received from around the world, including the Philippines, which opened a new center named after Bryant, and Italy, where Bryant spent part of his youth. 

Kobe Bryant joined the NBA in 1996 immediately after high school, becoming the second youngest NBA player in history. He was quickly traded to the Lakers after being initially drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, and in his second season, he was selected for the NBA All-Star game. His achievements throughout his 20-year run include being the 2008 NBA MVP, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, a two-time NBA scoring champion, a two-time Olympic champion, and playing five NBA Championships with the Lakers. He also won an Oscar for his short animated film Dear Basketball in 2018, two years after his retirement from the game in 2016. 

Kobe’s daughter, Gianna Bryant, was a talented basketball player who aspired to play in the WNBA. She shared her father’s signature fadeaway jumper and is credited with rekindling his love for basketball. She was determined to play for the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team.

Those who passed away from the crash also include Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and daughter Alyssa, also a teammate of Gianna; Christina Mauser, a girls basketball coach at a school in Orange County; Sarah Chester and her daughter, Payton; and pilot Ara Zobayan. 

To honor Kobe, there have been calls to change the NBA logo to his image and honorarily recognize Gianna Bryant in the WNBA. Several Philadelphia landmarks, where Kobe was from, were lit purple, including the Wells Fargo Center, Citizens Bank Park, Boathouse Row, and Benjamin Franklin Bridge. In New York, the Empire State Building lit up with purple and gold lights. NBA teams began their Sunday night games by purposely running their shot-clock and taking 24-second violations and 8 second violations in the backcourt, in honor of Kobe’s jersey numbers.