On Sunday, Jan. 26, legendary NBA player Kobe Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and 7 others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. People of all ages and backgrounds mourned his tragic sudden death all over social media, sharing the influence and impact he had in their lives.
Among those in mourning were teenagers who were fortunate enough to watch Kobe Bryant play and witness his inspiration to millions across the globe. As students returned school Monday, a solemn aura lined the hallways.
Students at Walton High School, dressed in their favorite Kobe shoes and clothes, watched his highlights throughout the day, trying to pay their respects to Bryant and his legacy.
I sat down with four of the many students at my school who were affected by the death of Kobe Bryant in order to better understand the effect he had in the lives of teenagers. I asked them to talk about the influence he had in their lives and their reaction to his passing.
Dylan Pumpian, 17: “Kobe taught me so much about the game in terms of how determination and hard work pay off, but also taught me that there is more to life than just basketball as he showed when he retired. His passing was tragic, but he will be remembered forever for both his on-court heroics and his time as a father.”
Luka Avaliani, 17: “When I was 7 years old, I went to my first [L.A.] Lakers game and immediately fell in love with the passion and intensity Kobe played with. Ever since then, Kobe has been my favorite player and the Lakers, my favorite team. Kobe provided me with many special memories where my family would gather around the TV and watch the famous Laker/Celtics rivalry. I grew up watching Kobe play and fell in love with him as a player.”
Divya Virmani, 16: “I have to admit, I don’t like sports that much, but Kobe Bryant was a legend. Everyone can agree upon his legacy and the impact that he had. His death was a shock to both me and my mom and was very emotional.”
Emily Neece, 17: “Kobe was extremely influential and not just to basketball fans. He always did the right thing, which I really admired. When I found out Kobe died, I was extremely saddened. He left a great legacy.”