The legacy of Kobe Bryant lives on

Although+Kobe+Bryant++has+passed%2C+his+legacy+will+continue+to+inspire+many.

Katie Wheeler

Although Kobe Bryant has passed, his legacy will continue to inspire many.

Kobe Bryant.

For many people, these two words were so much more than just a name; they signified a father, a husband, a friend, and a role model.

On Jan. 26, the news of a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California made headlines across the nation. Nine lives were lost, including Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven others.

John Altobelli was the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College. The crash claimed the lives of him, his wife, Keri Altobelli, and their 13-year-old daughter, Alyssa Altobelli. Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton Chester were also victims, along with Christina Mauser and the pilot of the helicopter, Ara Zobayan.

Upon hearing the news, many were shocked and devastated.

“It hurts to see such young lives being lost, like Gianna, Payton, Alyssa, who had so much potential to be leaders for women in the future,” sophomore Sophia Boynton said.

The fact that the crash happened so suddenly also caused people to reevaluate their views on life.

Jono Sison, a sophomore, said, “It really highlights how unpredictable life is. The fact that your loved ones could pass, that my mom could die tomorrow before I get to say ‘I love you’ one last time, really makes spending time with family and friends so much more valuable.”

Of the lives lost, Bryant left one of the biggest impacts in the world, due to the fact that he got his start in one of America’s favorite sports.

At the young age of 17, Bryant was drafted to the Charlotte Hornets as the 13th overall pick. Soon after, however, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac.

TJ Leaf, a power forward for the Indiana Pacers, was drafted as the 18th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft. Similarly to Bryant, he was young, only about 20 years old. Leaf claims that Bryant was always a huge inspiration to him growing up. 

“The first basketball game I ever attended was to see Kobe and the Lakers, and I immediately fell in love with the game,” Leaf said.

As a shooting guard and small forward, Bryant helped lead his team to win five NBA championships, from 2000 to 2002 and from 2009 to 2010. 

“He was the most relentless worker the NBA has ever seen, and along with so many other basketball players around the world, he inspired me to work as hard as humanly possible for something you truly want,” Leaf said. “He showed that if you have work ethic, you can be extremely successful, and not just in basketball, but in any other field.”

When Bryant retired in 2016, and in December 2017, both of his jersey numbers, eight and 24, were also retired by the NBA.

Both during and following his basketball career, Bryant was active in many charities, including being the ambassador for After-School All-Stars, a program that provides care for students after the school day ends. 

The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation was founded by Bryant and his wife in 2007 with the intention of improving home and family life for children. In order to do so, the foundation works alongside other programs such as Mamba FC, the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Step Up On Second, and My Friend’s Place.

Because of his meaningful community projects, Leaf claims that Bryant had “touched the lives of many, even away from the game of basketball.”

“Kobe Bryant will always be one of the few, all-time great players and will be forever missed, loved, and appreciated,” Leaf said.

Many can agree that Bryant has had a tremendous impact on the community. This impact does not end now, though. His legacy will continue to inspire and encourage people for many years to come. 

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