BY: EBENEZER NKUNDA
January 26, 2020 was a normal Sunday, until surprising news shook the nation and the world: “Kobe Bryant is one of 9 people killed in a helicopter crash.” More surprising and heartbreaking news: “His 13-year-old daughter Gianna was also victim to the crash.” The victims that died alongside Kobe and Gianna were Sarah and Payton Chester (a mother and daughter), John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli, a coach for Mamba Academy, Christina Mauser, and Kobe’s captain Ara Zobayan, who had 20 years of flight experience.
Everyone knows who Kobe Bryant is. Bryant was originally drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, but forced a post-draft trade to the Lakers, saying it was the only team he would join. Bryant spent his entire 20-season basketball career with the Lakers, winning five NBA championships. He retired in 2016, after scoring 60 points in his final game. His uniform numbers, 8 and 24, were both retired by the Lakers, making him the only NBA star to have two numbers retired with the same team.
Currently, the National Transportation Safety Board continues to lead an investigation that is looking into the pilot, helicopter maintenance records, and the weather conditions at the time the helicopter took off for reasons behind the accident.
After the horrific accident with the basketball star on board, fans across the country paid tribute. The tweets starting pouring in. Shrines of flowers, drawings, and notes were assembled outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where Kobe played during his career. Shrines were also built in his high school near Philadelphia, where it all started. Players around the NBA honored Bryant by holding the ball for 24 seconds (one of his jersey numbers) for a 24-second shot clock violation at the start of games. The Grammy Awards, which were scheduled for that day, had moments honoring Kobe’s life as well.
This news came as a shock to everyone. It awakened people to reality. The reality that life is unpredictable, unreliable, and shorter than you think. Kobe’s death affected the entire world as purple and yellow lights are lit up worldwide. It shows how much Kobe impacted people, and though he is dead, Kobe is and will continue to be a legend known across the world, with legacy that will continue to live on through generations to come.