It’s been a little over two weeks since we lost Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash in California. It has not only left sports fans in complete disbelief, but also the entire world.
It has left people in pure shock, and in utter confusion, as to how this beautiful spirit was lost.
Kobe Bryant was a leader, and a global icon that many people grew up loving. His smile was blinding, heart was pure, stats impeccable, and most of all, his love for his daughters was admirable.
The most saddening, and to some, the most humbling part of it all was the loss of Byant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna. This was a tragedy that we would learn to be true, minutes after the news surfaced on Jan.26 that Bryant was among the nine dead.
Gianna Bryant, was the middle child of four to parents Kobe and Vanessa Bryant. She had a beautiful future, and huge dreams to play for UCONN, and go on to the WNBA to continue her father’s legacy. As Bryant recalls a fan saying, “You’ve got to have a boy, someone to carry on the tradition,” in a Jimmy Kimmel interview, and Gianna responding, “I got this, don’t need no boy for this.” Even in her tragic death, she still left the world continuing her father’s legacy, and will be remembered for doing such.
It is important to recognize the fragility of life and live life based upon the fact that nothing is promised. No one would ever imagine that an Oscar winning, Team U.S.A Olympics champion, occasional rapper, and father of four would perish in a freak helicopter accident. Or a thirteen year old with WNBA dreams, parents, and coaches. However, that is the harsh reality we are faced with.
What keeps the heads up of plenty of fans is the beautiful legacy Kobe Bryant left behind, and the life that he chose to lead serving others. Not only was he a basketball star but he was an NBA Finals champion, television star, youth basketball coach, and philanthropist. His efforts, as a human, did not go unnoticed. That can clearly be gathered by the thousands of people who gathered to remember Bryant last Sunday in front of the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Celebrities like Alicia Keys at the Grammys, and even Lebron James (who recently broke Bryant’s points record in Bryant’s home state of Philadelphia) in the Lakers-Trail Blazers game the night before the crash.
As celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Kimmel, and Shaquile O’Neal reflect, it makes us realize why we celebrate him. Furthermore, in these horrific times, we must remember the feeling Kobe gave us when he was here.
His death was not in vain, as my pastor Craig Oliver of Elizabeth Baptist Church stated, “Even when my vapor disappears, I still linger.” Most definitely, Kobe Bryant still lingers and with great integrity.
To Kobe, Gianna, and the other victims John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser. Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and Ara Zobyan, you are missed. You will forever mean something to those who loved you, and those that paths you hadn’t crossed.
Now, with pride, we still yell “KOBE” at the victory of a trash can shot, wear his adored sneakers and jerseys, keep a mamba mentality, and use the hashtag #girldad in respect for all that he was.
In the words of Bryant talking to fans at his 2016 retirement: “Mamba Out.”
India Rice, 17, Westlake High School. Been repping the Kobe nines for the past two weeks.