On this date exactly one year ago, society at large was shocked as the sports world took a tremendous blow when NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. One of the coaches and two members of Gianna’s girl’s basketball team succumbed in the crash as well. The world continues to mourn the loss of one of the greatest players in the game and the impact of his death on the sport of basketball and professional sports in general.
One of the most popular sports figures in Los Angeles and a celebrity around the globe, 41-year-old Bryant was beyond recognition when his body was found outside the wreckage of the chopper; his remains had to be identified by his fingerprints.
The others killed were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli; his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, who helped Bryant coach his daughter’s basketball team; and Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton. Alyssa and Payton were Gianna’s teammates.
Countless pages on social media are dedicated to Bryant, video shrines that keep alive his memory and the brilliance of his 20-year NBA career, which is magnified by five league championships.
The Lakers included Bryant’s legacy in their championship rings after they won the title in last year’s season, which the coronavirus pandemic overshadowed. One of Bryant’s clichès, “Leave a Legacy,” is emblazoned on the ring, along with his number 8 and number 24 jerseys. It’s expected that a statue will be erected in Bryant’s honor outside the Lakers’ home, the Staples Center, in downtown Los Angeles.