Kobe Bryant: Gone But Not Forgotten

Jackson Graham, Staff Writer

Kobe Bryant- a multi-millionaire, 5x NBA champion, 2x finals MVP, 2x Olympic gold medalist, 18x All-Star, and most importantly, a father. Kobe was involved in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna also known as “GiGi” on Sunday, January 26. The other seven victims on the helicopter included John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and Ara Zobayan. Alyssa Altobelli was apart of the same basketball team as Gianna Bryant so they were teammates. While heading to their basketball game on Sunday, January 26, Kobe offered them a ride. Reports say that it was foggy that morning while they were leaving but Ara Zobayan had the skills to fly in those harsh conditions but still needed help with taking off. The control center that was helping guide Ara lost contact with the helicopter around 9:45 a.m. and soon after locals called the police stating that they witnessed, “whirring blades and a fire” on the hillside. Reports came flooding in after the police arrived on the scene of the tragedy, and authorities refused to give all of the victims’ names at that point in time. Later that night Los Angeles County sheriff Alex Villanueva said in an afternoon news conference that the passenger manifest for the helicopter indicated nine people were on board. There were no survivors. 

In recent reports, the pilot of the helicopter allegedly “sped up” and people are furious about the situation. Recent talk on social media has been about the tragedy and now people are starting to look into it thoroughly. The fans of Kobe are not going to let this die down until they figure out everything because they want answers now.

On the bright side of things, the NBA has honored the loss of GiGi and Kobe by taking a 24-second violation call and an 8-second violation call. Teams that would win the tip off would dripple the shot clock out and applaud for the loss of the star and his daughter. After that was over the opposing team would hold the ball for 8 seconds on their own half causing an 8-second violation honoring Kobe as well. Although that is a very respectful way to honor a lost superstar and a very young superstar, people got more and more genuine as time went by. Outside the Staples Center where Kobe played most of his career, fans gathered to mourn the loss of their favorite player, bringing jerseys, flowers, posters, candles, balloons, and more. Some fans were also seen bringing buckets with little paper balls to throw while yelling  “KOBE!”

On the other side of things, superstars like Shaq, Dwayne Wade, Lebron, and many more have been emotional about what has happened to their fellow teammate, rival, and brother. The superstar Lebron James was seen Sunday afternoon crying as he got off of his plane to head to the Staples Center for a game. Just the night before, Lebron had past Kobe on the all-time scoring list for third place, passing Kobe and Micheal Jordan. That same night Kobe tweeted, “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother. #33644.” This would be the last tweet that Kobe Bryant would put out into the world. 

Superstar Shaq was seen outside of Staples Center leading Kobe chants with the fans and some even caught it on video. Shaq was also seen crying on live television while talking with former basketball stars Dwayne Wade, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Jalen Rose. While he was talking, he got very emotional when he said, “The last time I talked to Kobe was when I was here (at the Staples Center) and I told him (Kobe) to drop 50 and he dropped 60.” Shaq continued, “We shouldn’t take anything for granted.” Shaq then began to tell everyone how he found out. His nephew, Columbus, came in crying and trying to show him what happened. Shaq then said that he snapped at him and said, “Get that out of my face. It’s just a hoax. It’s not real,” because he didn’t want to believe that he had yet lost another family member.

The next day Nike announced that all of Kobe’s items were currently not available anymore because all of it was sold out. To announce that Kobe items had been sold out, the company just sent buyers to a memorial page when they tried to buy Kobe’s merchandise. This caused an uproar from fans across the globe because they thought Nike took Kobe merchandise off their site. At this time Nike is currently working on a way that they can sell Kobe’s products again because they want to respect him and his family.