The Loss Of Kobe Bryant

Daniel Shurr, Sports Writer

On the afternoon of Sunday January 26th, every sports fan, and Basketball guru, held their heads in sorrow at the news that rippled across the country. Former NBA all star, future Hall Of Famer and 4th all time leading scorer Kobe Bryant, died in a helicopter crash at the age of only 41. Kobe Bryant’s influence on the game of basketball was monumental, and was in the debate for the greatest NBA player of all time.

Kobe Bryant, his 13 year old daughter Gianna, and seven others perished in a helicopter crash when their pilot lost control of the helicopter, crashing into a hillside of Calabasas, California, killing everybody on board instantly. In a press conference from local California Fire and Police, emergency response personnel noted that the crash caused an acre wide brush fire, but was easily contained by crews. According to CNN, the nine that were in the helicopter were all on their way to Mamba Sports Academy, located in Newbury Park California which was Kobe’s Basketball Academy, that he used to personally train the new wave of dominant basketball players. This was Kobe’s way of giving back to the game of Basketball, that had given so much to him. Kobe Bryant was drafted straight out of High School at pick number 13 in the 1996 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets, but was then immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he spent the rest of his playing days, until 2016 when he retired. 

TMZ was the first source to break the news of Bryant’s death, and it’s worth noting that TMZ is not the most reliable source. Many people simply did not believe the death of such a generational talent just occurred, the world was on edge, but it was TMZ that reported Bryant’s death, nobody believed them. Until during the 2020 NFL ProBowl, ABC interrupted with a special report. ABC news confirmed TMZ’s report, which was later confirmed by CBS and ESPN. The world as we know it, had just lost King Mamba. The passenger count was not clear until early the next day, when the speculations stopped and news stations had a solid story to give to the people that were demanding information about their deceased idol. Before the morning of the 27th, some sources stated only Kobe was on board, others said Kobe’s entire family was on board. But the world halted their speculations, when multiple sources confirmed that Kobe and Gianna Bryant were among the nine total that met their end on what would be their last helicopter ride. It’s bad enough that such a great player like Kobe Bryant was on board, but his daughter too? it was to much for the world to handle all at once. 

In the hours after Bryant’s death, pro athletes from around the world released their statements on Twitter with hashtags about Kobe. Texans pass rusher J.J Watt released the following statement on Twitter: “Can’t be true. Simply can’t be true. Truly Truly Horrific. Rest in Peace Kobe.” Other athletes such as Tom Brady, and one of Bryant’s former teammates Shaquile O’Neal, also expressed their sorrows via Twitter and Instagram. But nobody had more sorrow, than the man who passed Bryant the night before for third all time in points scored, none other, than LeBron James.  James and Kobe were rivals for years, sharing the title of best player in the league for years. After he heard the news, James was seen crying while getting off of the team plane that just landed in Los Angeles. Lebron arrived in LA to play for the Lakers on a 4 year, 154 million dollar contract that he signed back in July of 2018. James arrived from Cleveland shortly after Kobe retired from LA in 2016. Despite being rivals in the eyes of the public, the two shared a great respect for each other, and the loss of Bryant shook James and the rest of the world to the core. Other athletes and teams showed their support for the deceased King Mamba, the Dallas Mavericks retired number 24 (the number Bryant was most famous for wearing) despite never owning the rights to him as a player. The day of his death, in an afternoon game, the Toronto Raptors, and San Antonio Spurs both took a 24 second clock violation, to show their support to the Bryant family and to honor Kobe Bryant. 

Kobe Bryant was definitely Hall of Fame material. In most professional sports, in order to be eligible for the Hall of Fame, the player must be removed from the league for at least five years. But the NBA and NBA Hall of Fame committee, will be making an exception for Kobe Bryant. According to NBC Sports Boston, Kobe Bryant will be inducted into the 2020 Hall of Fame class, without a single vote being cast for him. He is a first Ballot Hall of Famer, and it is not even worth the debate on whether or not Bryant should receive this honor, because he is definitely deserving of an enshrinement. He will be placed in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, where his legacy on, and off the court, will be immortalized.

Featured image from: https://www.nbcsports.com