Photo courtesy of WikiCommons | Kobe Bryant’s memory lives on even outside of basketball and sports in general.
By Reid Shniderman’20
Kobe Bryant, former Los Angeles Lakers superstar and prominent figure in the National Basketball Association (NBA), died on January 26 this year in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA. His thirteen-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant as well as six family friends were on board, none of whom survived.
Bryant has been argued to be one of the greatest basketball players in the NBA, with several dozen achievements and statistics to show. Winning an MVP award for the 2007-2008 finals and selected to play in 18 All-Star games, his track record reflected his prestige.
Other NBA stars such as LeBron James and former players Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar paid their respects over social media.
“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.” O’Neal tweeted.
On January 31, the Lakers played their first game since Bryant’s death. During halftime, singers Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth sang “When I See You Again”, paying tribute to the late superstar along with the players.
Bryant’s memory was also honored at Super Bowl LIV, with all the football players lining up for a moment of silence, including San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, a close friend of Bryant’s, who wore the superstar’s jersey at the game.
“I was kind of down and I was in the dumps and I just thought about what [Bryant] would tell me,” Sherman said at Super Bowl Opening Night. “He would tell me to stop being a baby and man up and play it and do it in his honor and win this game for him.”
“And that’s what we’re going to try to do. We’re going to try to go out there and play some dominating ball, just like he wanted. The Mamba mentality lives on.” Sherman said, mentioning Bryant’s nickname.
Bryant’s family also received condolences from several others such as Dwayne Johnson, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Kanye West and Presidents Obama and Trump, not to mention the millions of people who continue to mourn his loss.