Most Americans would remember the feeling they had after hearing about JFK’s demise. Now, basketball fans have their own to remember. On Jan. 26, 2020, the world lost a talented basketball player.
How did it happen?
On Sunday, the 41-year-old basketball star Kobe Bryant was headed for a basketball match to California along with his daughter Gigi Bryant and seven others. Reports suggest the pilot was trying to fly the chopper at a greater height than allowed which caused a fault in the system and the helicopter to crash.
Soon the crash was all over the news and social media. Fans shared their condolences and mourned. Among those were some of the renowned stars and Lakers’ vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka.
He issued an incisive statement, “On Sunday, I lost my best friend and my sweet goddaughter. With that, there has been amputation of part of my soul.”
Soon Kobe’s wife of 20 years, Vanessa Bryant broke her silence. She said, “There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now, I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved” in an Instagram post.
The world has lost a legend and surely the fans must miss him.
Why did Lakers’ fans love him so much?
Kobe can be better quoted as a Kareem in his prime, but slightly shorter. Though he was no longer on the court, playing basketball for his fans since 2016, he was still a basketball icon. So much so that, on the day he died, as soon as the news made its way public, the Raptors and the Spurs paid tribute to Kobe during an ongoing match in San Antonio. They actually held the ball for 24-seconds violating the game rules. And all that was audible across the stadium was, Ko-be…Ko-be. This was done specifically in relevance to the number Kobe wore- 24.
Despite the fact that Kobe was a former Lakers’ player his death has devastated sports fans from all communities. And this is not just true for NBA fans in the USA, but for people across the globe. There have been reports from the Philippines and Japan and other south Asian countries, as well, about sand sculptures and other forms of art being used to pay tribute to the legend. Though there have been tragedies in the sports world before as well, this may mark the beginning of a new legacy.
For fans who wish to pay their tribute to the iconic player, you can book your tickets to Lakers’ game at https://www.barrystickets.com/lakers-tickets/ and also avail a 5% cashback. After all, the greatest tribute to any sports figure that you can pay is by acknowledging their sport.
Here’s something about his life
Born on Aug. 23, 1978, Kobe entered the world of NBA directly after completing his high school. After playing for 20 seasons throughout his entire professional career with Los Angeles Lakers, he was named the NBA MVP. Throughout his career, he won five NBA championships to his name and was also named All-Star 18 times. He played like an All-NBA Team member for 15 times and 12 times as a member of the All-Defensive team.
He was also named as the most valuable player in NBA in 2008. He played as the Shooting Guard with team Lakers and wore 8 and 24. His interest in basketball can be rooted in his father who himself was a former NBA player- Joe Bryant. During his debut, he scored 25 points in Summer Pro League, at Long Beach, California. And thereafter, he never stopped. He has numerous records to his name. One of the most remembered records is when he scored 61 points against Knicks on 2 February 2009 setting the maximum points ever scored at Madison Square Stadium.
Who else died that day?
The seven others who died in the crash include John Altobelli, his wife, Keri Altobelli, and their daughter, Alyssa. John was the head basketball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California. The assistant basketball coach at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy, Christina Mauser, was also accompanying them, along with, Payton Chester, 13, who was a player for the academy’s basketball teams. Reportedly, Payton’s mother, Sarah Chester, was also accompanying others in the chopper and met her demise. The pilot, Ara Zobayan, 49, was also killed in the crash.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti told the LA Times, that they have been following up with the LA Lakers and Kobe’s wife, Vanessa Bryant. The city is planning for a public memorial to offer to the basketball icon and the others who died in the crash on Sunday. Although, no date has been finalized, as reported by the local news agency.
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