Yesterday, the world lost legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant in a horrific helicopter crash. The former Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard was en route to a basketball game with his 13-year-old daughter, where he was set to coach her team. The crash, which occurred before 10 a.m. local time, killed a total of nine people, including Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, John Altobelli, a longtime baseball coach at Orange Coast College, Altobelli’s wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa, the pilot, and two others. Bryant was 41-years-old.
This sudden and tragic news came as an undeniable shock and devastation set in as more developments became public. Authorities first said Bryant was killed, but later, when they added that his daughter was on board, there was more disbelief.
Bryant played for the Lakers for twenty years before announcing his retirement in 2015. He played his last game on April 13, 2016. In 2018, he co-founded the Mamba Sports Academy, a training facility with youth and adult programs for basketball, volleyball, track, and more. While basketball played a vital role in his life, his family was number one.
Bryant leaves behind his wife Vanessa, 17-year-old Natalia Diamante, 3-year-old Bianka Bella, and 7-months old Capri Kobe.
People around the world have expressed their sorrow on social media. Let’s take a look.
A message from our forever president
Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 26, 2020
In a time when nothing could bring us comfort, former President Barack Obama always has a way of saying exactly how we are all feeling and makes us feel like we’re all part of the same family. While there’s not much that can help a situation that we are currently in, Obama has a way of providing support when no one else can. His words bring comfort to anyone feeling alone and helpless.
A meme is now unforgettable
RIP to Kobe and Gianna. What was once a meme is now a loving memory of a father and daughter. https://t.co/gakXCH6AL4
— Brendan Walker (@BWalkerNFL) January 26, 2020
This moment between father and daughter went viral on social media not that long ago. Kobe was explaining something technical (we’re assuming because they were at a basketball game) and it looked like he was being very thorough with the details, which is why the moment went viral. Now, it’s a moment that will be memorable as the two are now gone. Another reason it’s also special is that Gianna was following in her father’s footsteps and loved playing basketball just like him.
Friend and teammate
Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gigi was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah. pic.twitter.com/BHBPN5Wq8V
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020
Former Lakers player Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe were astonishing to watch on the court. O’Neal expressed the travesty of losing a man like Kobe. “There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through with this tragedy of losing my niece Gigi & my brother @kobebryant. I love u and u will be missed. My condolences go out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW.”
Appreciating what is important in life
Crowds gathered in front of the Staples Center in Los Angeles and set up a memorial for Byrant. His death is making some people realize that all the money and fame in the world mean nothing without the love and support of family and friends. The death of multiple people on board, including two children, makes this unbelievable crash even worse. Entire families have now been ripped apart.
Like father, like daughter
Gianna Bryant was quick to remind people that her father, who has all daughters, didn’t need a son to continue the family’s basketball legacy.
Kobe saw much of his spark and determination in his daughter.https://t.co/v2ToStaw4U
— Adriana Lacy (@Adriana_Lacy) January 27, 2020
There’s a poignant article that is being shared today in which Bryant speaks of his daughter Gianna. He said people would always tell him he needed to have a son so he could pass on the basketball torch to him. Bryant said, his daughter already had the torch. Gianna excelled in basketball and had dreams of playing in the WNBA. While her life was cut short, she lived an extraordinary life with an even more extraordinary family.
Thank you, Kobe, for bringing magic into our lives. You will never be forgotten.