A Tribute to Kobe Bryant


Courtesy of Getty Images

Kobe Bryant and his 13 year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday January 26th in Calabasas, California.

Manit Patel, Senior Staff Writer

Where were you when it happened? I got a text from a friend – a screenshot of a Google search with a terrifying headline across the top. “Kobe Bryant among five killed in helicopter crash in Calabasas.” No. No way this was real. 

Over the next couple of hours, the news broke that Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others had died in a helicopter crash on their way to Kobe’s Mamba Academy for Gianna’s game. 

The first time I was old enough to comprehend Kobe Bryant’s greatness was the 2010 NBA Finals. My favorite player, Rasheed Wallace, was on the Boston Celtics, and the Celtics were up on a one game lead in the series, one game away from winning the title. That game six, Bryant played 40 minutes, and he and the Lakers absolutely torched that Celtics team. That team featured greats such as Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace, but the Mamba dropped 26 points with 11 rebounds to lead the Lakers to the crucial victory they needed to force a Game 7 at home. 

Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals was played on June 17, 2010. My dad and I sat down on the couch to watch the game. I was rooting for the Celtics, but every single time Kobe made a play or drained a bucket, my dad would say, “You can’t stop Kobe.” That was exactly what the storyline of the game would be. The Lakers entered the fourth quarter down by four points, with the score being 57-53 in favor of the Celtics. The Lakers scored 30 points in that quarter, outscoring the Celtics by eight, with 10 of the points coming from Bryant. 

That instance was just one of many that Bryant had in his career to convince people of my generation that he was great. He was the one we all looked up to growing up. Kobe inspired an entire generation of players and fans alike. 

After he retired, Kobe set forth on growing sports. His Mamba Academy has eight subsets of different sports focused academies (Basketball, Volleyball, Jiu-Jitsu, Football, Baseball/Softball, ESports, Soccer and Strength and Conditioning) and was meant to inspire millions around the world to play sports, just as Kobe did during his legendary career. Bryant also won an Oscar for his short film “Dear Basketball,” which was based off his retirement letter in the Players Tribune. It was an emotionally charged, beautiful masterpiece. 

Following his death, countless young players, seasoned veterans and coaches were seen emotional on the court today. After the Suns took an eight second violation to represent the half of Kobe’s career in which he wore that number, Devin Booker began to tear up. Trae Young, prior to tip-off against the Washington Wizards, was seen crying while hugging members of his family. Young began the game with a number eight jersey and took an eight-second violation as well. Young was a player in two of the three games that Gianna attended, and she told Young that he was her favorite player. Doc and Austin Rivers were unable to contain their sorrow prior to their respective games as members of the Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets. Booker, Young, Doc and Austin were just a small fraction of the countless NBA personnel who showed their emotions and love for a player who has done so much for the game. 

Kobe Bryant is a household name. He inspired millions around the world regardless of background or financial standing. He transcended the game of basketball when it was desperate for a superstar following the retirement of Micheal Jordan. His long-lasting legacy was to be carried on by his daughter Gianna, the only one of his daughters who has taken up basketball so far. His “Mamba Mentality” attitude will live on forever, along with the lasting legacy he left on this amazing sport. 


Dear Kobe, 

Thank you for changing our lives.