• Eli Hardegree

Remembering Kobe Bryant

The world flipped upside down last week when it was announced that NBA legend Kobe Bryant, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others, had been killed in a helicopter crash.

The sudden death of Bryant left everyone shocked and devastated; it was unbelievable that someone like him could be taken from us just like that.

In a world that has seen plenty of celebrity deaths in recent years, the responses and tributes to those who lost their lives in the crash are unlike those of any other celebrity death. Athletes, celebrities, and millions of people worldwide have shared their thoughts and memories on Kobe.

The heartbreaking news came out on the same day as the Grammy Awards, an award show that brings the biggest names in the music industry together for one night. The award show took place in the Staples Center, which was where Kobe Bryant spent his 20-year career playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Prior to the show, thousands of Lakers fans gathered outside the arena, all wearing Kobe Bryant jerseys, to pay their respects for their idol. A giant mural was made outside the arena, and fans left flowers, basketballs, and even shoes at the site.

CHS sophomore Ashley Thompson was actually in Los Angeles for the Grammys, and she witnessed all of this firsthand, “Walking down the streets of LA, and seeing the outpouring of support for Kobe was remarkable. I had never seen so many jerseys in my life,”.

The tributes for Kobe weren’t only taking place outside Staples Center, he was honored inside the building too. During the award show, spotlights remained lit towards his two retired jerseys, one with #8 and the other with #24.

Artists also spoke plenty on the late legend, including Lizzo, who opened the show by saying “Tonight is for Kobe”.

Around the NBA, players were stunned about this loss, as many of them looked up to Kobe when they were younger, even some having the privilege to have played alongside the legend. Many players had tears in their eyes as they took the court. Teams began each game by taking 24-second violations to honor #24 for the Lakers. Trae Young, one of the league’s young stars, played his game in a #8 jersey to honor Kobe’s other number.

The Lakers had a game scheduled for that Tuesday against the Clippers, but the league postponed that game to give the Lakers organization time to grieve. Their next game was that Friday against the Trail Blazers.

Prior to tip-off for that game, the Lakers held a ceremony to honor Kobe. This ceremony included a tear-inducing rendition of Amazing Grace by Usher, a recording of Kobe’s voice with a professional violinist, a Boyz II Men rendition of the national anthem, and a speech from Lakers superstar LeBron James. There wasn’t a dry eye in the stadium.

In his speech, LeBron ditched the script, telling the fans “I’d be selling y’all short if I read off this s--- so I’m going straight from the heart,”.

That was exactly what he did, and he went on to reflect on Kobe’s determination and dedication to succeed as a basketball player, and as a father.

LeBron concluded his speech by referring to Kobe’s retirement speech as he held back tears, “So in the words of Kobe Bryant, ‘Mamba Out’. But in the words of us, ‘Not Forgotten’. Live on, brother.

The tribute to Bryant continued as the night went on with yet another tear-inducing performance as Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth sang ‘See You Again’.

Following the game, the NBA announced that they would once again honor Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. During the league’s All Star Game later this month, the players will have similar jersey numbers. Team Giannis will wear #24 to honor Kobe and Team LeBron will wear #2 to honor Gianna, as that was her number for basketball.

The memories for Kobe and those who lost their lives in the helicopter crash will live on. The families of these people will be in the thoughts of prayers of everyone, including myself, as they cope with this tragedy.

Written in remembrance of Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Ara Zobayan

Los Angeles Billboard honors the memory of Kobe Bryant (Photo via Ashley Thompson)

Los Angeles buildings are covered with Kobe Bryant's face. (Photo via Ashley Thompson)


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