In a tragic helicopter crash, basketball legend Kobe Bryant died at 41 years old on January 26. He was one of nine people killed on board the helicopter that included his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant.
It’s not hard to see how Centennial students were affected by the news of his passing. Numerous students posted about the news when it first came out on social media, talking about how they loved watching Bryant play and how he inspired them. The day after the news, many students came to school wearing his famous #24 jersey, brandishing it proudly in his memory. Junior Ethan Moland said about his legacy, “Kobe was an inspiration not only to basketball players but also to people around the world. He was an idol to many people and wanted everyone to live life to the fullest. Kobe and his daughter Gigi will be remembered for generations to come.”
Kobe Bryant was a titan in the NBA, having won dozens of awards, including the NBA Championship five times over. He played his entire 20 year career with the Los Angeles Lakers and helped bring them to great heights. His skill was undeniable, seeing as he scored 33,643 points across his career, making him one of the NBA’s top scoring players ever.
However, Kobe Bryant’s sphere of influence has extended far outside the realm of sports, as he’s well known by most people in America. He’s delved into music, books, and even made the Academy Award winning short film Dear Basketball. Bryant founded multiple charitable foundations, including the After-School All-Stars and Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, both focused on helping kids in need stay healthy with sports.
There was a dark period in Kobe’s life though, that being the sexual harassment of a 19-year-old hotel worker. It never went to trial due to the accuser’s unwillingness to testify, and was settled out of court. This dark stain on Kobe’s past can’t be ignored, but his change and effort to help others afterwards should be noted.
It’s not uncommon to hear someone who might not have ever watched one of his games shout “Kobe!” before throwing garbage into a garbage can. Kobe Bryant is one of the few athletes who is well known not just to sports fans, but to everyone. His death has greatly affected people across America, seen with the millions of tweets mourning his passing. Kobe Bryant may be gone, but his legacy will clearly not be forgotten.