Kobe Bryant: The Life and Legacy of a Legend

Kobe Bryant: The Life and Legacy of a Legend

On January 26, former NBA player Kobe Bryant, aged 41, was killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. Along with Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other passengers passed away due to the accident. The helicopter was on its way to a youth basketball tournament at Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California. It took off in the morning despite the adverse weather conditions and crashed into a hillside due to the low visibility.  

Over two decades ago, an aspiring 17-year-old athlete, Kobe Bryant, was drafted directly after high school by the Charlotte Hornets and traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Even from his debut season, he set several records; the youngest starter, youngest Slam Dunk Contest winner, and youngest All-Star starter. In the 2000/2001 NBA season, Bryant marked the beginning of the “Three-peat” era, where Bryant and his teammate Shaquille O’Neal led the Lakers to three NBA titles consecutively. After O’Neal left Lakers, the team struggled to recover from the absence of O’Neal, yet, Bryant continued to show outstanding performance. In 2006, he scored 81 points in one gamewhich was the second-highest single-game mark in League history. In the following years, Bryant was awarded the league MVP once and NBA finals MVP twice after leading the Lakers to consecutive titles in 2009 and 2010. He spent all 20 years in his NBA career with the Lakers until he retired in 2016. Even after his retirement, Bryant continued to leave impressive achievements. In 2018, he produced a poem “Dear Basketball”, which was later animated into a short film, and won an Oscar. 

“You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”  

– ‘Dear Basketball’, by Kobe Bryant 

The death of this legendary NBA star shocked his fans all around the world. Los Angeles’ Staples Center, the home stadium of LA Lakers, was filled with the crowd that paid respect and tribute to a man they looked up to. In the Marymount community, as well, students showed misery about the news of his death. Fay Kubba from Grade 11 commented that “he was not only a massive part in the basketball world but also in the entertainment world.  He was also a father and a relatable, humble man.” SimilarlyMebuki Kanda from Grade 11 said“He was such a role model to many people in general and throughout his life he inspired his fans not only as a basketball player but also as a great father.” 

Bryant was one of the fewest sportsmen whose first name was as well-known as his last namePeople would often yell “Kobe!” when they shoot a paper ball into the trash can, imitating his signature fadeaway shot. Fay Kubba said that Kobe Bryant is a symbol of the preciseness of shotswhich made people shout out his name whenever something they threw goes into the bin spot on.” 

On behalf of the Marymount community, we pray for the Bryant, Chester, Altobelli, Mauser and Zobayan family for their losses and for there to be an ease in their grief in this difficult time.  

 Rest in Power, Legend.  

 

References:

“Kobe Bryant.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 30 Jan. 2020, www.biography.com/athlete/kobe-bryant. 

Levin, Sam. “’The City Is Bleeding’: LA Lakers Fans Gather to Pay Tribute to Kobe Bryant.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 27 Jan. 2020, www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/jan/26/the-city-is-bleeding-la-lakers-fans-gather-to-pay-tribute-to-kobe-bryant. 

“What We Know About the Helicopter Crash That Killed Kobe Bryant.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 31 Jan. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/01/31/us/kobe-death.html.