January 26, 2020, will go down as a sad and unforgettable day. Bryant was only 41 years old at the time of his death, which made his demise an even greater tragedy. Bryant had become focused on fatherhood in recent years, utilizing helicopters to get around Southern California faster so he could spend more time with his wife Vanessa, and his four daughters. On this particular day, Kobe was headed from Orange County where he lived, to Thousand Oaks to coach his daughter's Team Mamba tournament game. A thick fog prevented them from reaching their final destination, and the helicopter crashed into a smokey abyss below.
Bryant was undoubtedly, a legend to humanity. Kids grew up watching him enter the NBA at the early age of 17, and tackling the sports like no other player before him. As a rookie, he earned a reputation as a high-flyer and earned a great number of fans when he won the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest and was named All-Star by his second season. On basketball courts around the world, it became common to hear someone yelling, “Kobe!” when they shot a ball or threw a layup into the air. The No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys became a hot commodity, and it was almost impossible to go anywhere without seeing these numbers and their associated purple and yellow Laker colours.
Other NBA legends were also stunned by the dynamic that this young teenager consistently brought to the court. Kobe was able to showcase himself and hold his own on the court against legends like Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan, and Allen Iverson. His three-pointers and free throws were just as good as his layups and inside shots. It was only a matter of time before the young man could prove himself in the NBA and officially become a legend of the game. And it definitely wasn't long before he did just that.
Kobe Bryant helped the Lakers win 5 NBA Championships, and his dedication to teamwork is apparent by the fact that he only received the NBA Finals MVP two times. Some of his greatest accomplishments in the game include being the youngest player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points, and also earning four All-Star MVP Awards, tied with Bob Pettit as the most in NBA History. In addition to these tremendous accolades, he has also won two gold Olympic medals in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.
Kobe Bryant was as also just as giving as a person of such high profile could be. Through his philanthropy endeavours, he became an official ambassador for “After-School All-Stars,” which was a non-profit organization that provided after-school programs to less fortunate children. He extended his philanthropy globally when he started the “Kobe Bryant China Fund,” raising money for education and health programs in China. However, Bryant was most proud of starting the “Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation” with his wife. This program helped young people, assisted in the development of physical and social skills through sports, and prevented homelessness.
Kobe leaves behind his wife Vanessa, whom he married when he was 21 and remained married to until his death. In addition to his wife, he also leaves behind three daughters, which include Blanka, Natalia, and Capri. The rest of the world could also be placed in this same category.
It seemed like the public could not get enough of Kobe Bryant throughout his short life. Everyone everywhere seemed to want a piece of him in some way or another. His kindness flowed delicately and seamlessly through everyone he met. Post-game interviewers of NBA matches seemed to be flourished after speaking with him, and he could always be seen happily chatting away with the celebrities who sat courtside at his games, all of whom seemed to admire the man. His personal family life also reflects the happiness he showcased on the court. Bryant himself seemed to love the attention the world gave to him, but what's more important is that the world loved giving him the attention as well.
Kobe Bryant will definitely be missed, by the sports world, by fans, and by the rest of humanity. May he and his daughter Gianna rest in eternal peace.