Rest in piece Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Photo Credit: Dackelprincess via Flickr
By Jessica Defreitas
On Jan. 26, the world mourned for the beloved legend along with his daughter Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant who both died in a helicopter crash that claimed nine lives. Kobe Bean Bryant was not just a famous professional basketball player but an idol in many households across the globe. Bryant’s career was unparalleled.
At the budding age of 17, young Kobe of Philadelphia, had a basketball career that quickly skyrocketed. He joined the NBA Los Angeles Lakers straight out of high school where he won five NBA championships. From 1999-2002 Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal won consecutive N.B.A. championships, then again from 2008- 2010 for two more titles.
By his second season Bryant had already won an All-Star. Throughout his reputable 20-season career, he was an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-Star NBA Team and a 12-time member of the All-Defensive Team. Bryant was also named the 2008 NBA’s Most Valuable Player. His work ethic and commitment pushed him to great heights.
Bryant was not only a two time Olympic champion but a father of four beautiful daughters. He was well known for his family life with his wife, Vanessa Bryant and their daughters. Over the years many fans have watched and shared clips of Bryant showing his nurturing side, hugging his family and just being a caring father and husband to his family.The public admired him for being a champion who touched hearts as a loving father and husband. He was a hero in the basketball community to many aspiring youth, an applauded dad and ‘husband goals’ as many would say.
By 2016, Bryant’s numbers, 24 and 8 were retired as he walked away with 60 points against the Utah Jazz. Bryant finished his remarkable legacy with 33,643 points in the regular season, making him No. 3 among N.B.A. scoring champions, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928). Kobe’s determination to be the best, kept him away from the night life as he strived to challenge the legend and his childhood hero Michael Jordan. Bryant was relentless in heading to the top and even played through his injuries.
Bryant’s legacy and large fan base allowed him to dabble in film, where he wrote and narrated the film ‘Dear Basketball’ which won an Oscar in 2018. Bryant’s accolades deemed him as someone who is out of the ordinary. From basketball to film to family, Kobe has shown the world the many sides to him that make him an icon of our time.
Many celebrities paid their tribute on Instagram to Bryant, one that really stood out was Justin Timberlake sharing his relationship with him as fathers. Touching the hearts of fans, Timberlake said “Your legacy is with us. It’s our responsibility to pass it down now. I hope I can continue to make you proud, Vino, Champ, MVP, Legend, Hero, Inspiration, Father, Friend. I’m gonna miss you, brother”.
A public memorial was held for Bryant, Gianna, as well as the seven other lives lost at the Staples Center in California nearly a month after the accident. Thousands, including celebrities, athletes, and fans came to pay their respects as the world mourns the loss of two great souls. The memorial had a number of touching performances, tributes and speeches including one from his wife, Vanessa and his hero, Michael Jordan.
The legacy of this great basketball player will forever be in the hearts of many, myself included.
Rest in Peace Kobe and Gianna Bryant.