Kobe Bryant: A Legacy that will Live on Forever

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Photo courtesy of https://deadline.com

Josh Miller, Sports Staff

The public memorial held to celebrate the lives of Kobe and Gianna Bryant took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles California on February 24. Fans, celebrities, and basketball legends gathered to honor the lives Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a sold-out service. All funds generated from tickets sold were donated to Bryant’s charity the Mamba Foundation. 

 

Michael Jordan – commonly considered to be one of the best athletes to ever play in the NBA and longtime rival of Bryant’s – gave a heartfelt speech stating that a part of him passed when Kobe passed and that he ‘lost his little brother.’ 

 

Kobe’s wife Vanessa spoke at the service, saying “God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other, he had to bring them to heaven together.” 

 

Beyonce made an appearance at the service, performing her songs “XO” (which according to the singer was one of Bryant’s favorite songs) and “Halo.” A handful of other celebrities, including Jimmy Fallon, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, and Shaquille O’Neal, also paid tribute to Bryant and his daughter during the service. 

 

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, as well as seven others lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on January 26. A complete shock and tragedy to the sports world, many were brought to tears after hearing the news.

 

Vanessa Bryant has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the helicopter company involved in the crash. 

 

Bryant, a Philadelphia native, amassed one of the best NBA careers of all time and is seen as one of the greatest to ever play the game. Bryant was a 5-time NBA champion, 15-time all star, two-time finals NBA MVP, and a regular season MVP. The list goes on and on. Known for his “mamba” mentality, Bryant was one of the fiercest competitors to ever play the game. 

 

Yet basketball wasn’t the only thing that Bryant was known for. He was seen as a mentor around the league to countless NBA players and coaches. He knew how to succeed and was always willing to help and teach those his equation for success in life. Bryant brought the same mentality he had on the court to life, being the best he could in everything that he did. 

 

Bryant’s impact not only reached the L.A. Lakers and the NBA, but all over the world. He was a legend that millions looked up to. Most of today’s young NBA stars grew up watching Bryant and saw him as their hero. 

 

At the January 26 Los Angeles Clippers vs. the Orlando Magic game, hours after the tragedy, one could feel a tangible sense of loss all around the arena.

 

While Bryant’s passing left many heartbroken, it also reminded fans of Bryant’s passion and heart for the game. Ultimately, no NBA games were canceled, as Kobe himself would have wanted them to be played.


In a pre-game conference, LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was visibly emotional when talking about Bryant. “I just don’t have a lot to say, the news is just devastating to everyone, and you know he means a lot to me, he was such a great opponent, that’s what you want in sports.”

 

 Coach Rivers went on to say, “He had that DNA that very few athletes could ever have…It’s funny, I was getting to know him more when he retired. This is a tough one.”

 


In a post game interview, All-star Magic center Nikola Vucevic told me about Bryant’s Impact on both basketball and the world. “He had a huge impact on the game even after he retired, coaching his daughter’s team and promoting the WNBA…It’s a terrible thing.”

 

Bryant’s death was a tragedy to all in the sports community. Yet the impact that he had will continue on forever and he will always be remembered as a true legend and hero.