Remembering the Life and Legacy of Kobe

By Blake Ramey

Kobe Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash on January 26th, 2020. Eight others, including Bryant’s 13 year old daughter, Gianna Bryant, also died in the crash in Southern California. Bryant coached Gianna’s AAU basketball team at his own Mamba Academy. The helicopter was en route to the Mamba Academy for a basketball tournament. Other victims on the helicopter involved members of the Altobeli family, the Chester family, and Christina Mauser who was the assistant coach of the basketball team. Here is a look back at Bryant’s career and legacy.

Kobe Bryant at 17 years old playing at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania. Bryant decided to skip college and go directly to the NBA . Only a select number of players have gone directly to the league including LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Moses Malone, and Darryl Dawkins. The current NBA rules restrict players from entering the NBA directly out of high school.
Via @BallisLife on Twitter
This picture was taken after Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryants won their first NBA championship together. O’Neal and Bryant won three NBA titles together and built a very close tight knit relationship, even after their playing careers. However, they did fight a lot during their playing careers due to both of their fierce competitiveness. It got so bad at one point, Kobe was considering leaving the Los Angeles Lakers. However, O’Neal ended up getting traded to the Miami Heat in 2004.
Via @SHAQ on Twitter
Kobe Bryant in the White House after the Lakers’ NBA Finals win in 2001. Bryant and the Lakers were frequent visitors to the White House considering they won three straight NBA Finals in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Bryant was 20 years old when he notched his second Larry O’ Brien trophy from winning the NBA Finals.
Photo via @Complex on Twitter
Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant celebrating their second NBA Finals win together. One year after this photo was taken, Bryant and O’Neal completed a three-peat in 2002. Many analysts call Bryant and O’Neal the best guard/big man duo to ever play together.
via @ComplexSports on Twitter
Kobe Bryant and Spike Lee sharing a moment on the sideline before a game in 2009. Bryant and Lee had a very strong relationship. Lee produced a documentary on Kobe in 2009 called “Kobe Doin’ Work”. Bryant had a passion for film making. He even won an Oscar for his award-winning short film ‘Dear Basketball’.
Via @SportsCenter on Twitter
Kobe Bryant at his jersey retirement ceremony in 2017 with former Lakers star PG Magic Johnson and Lakers GM Rob Pelinka. Bryant wore both numbers 8 and 24 in his career and they were both retired and lifted into the rafters at the Staples Center.
Photo via @MagicJohnson on Twitter
Another angle of Kobe Bryant at his jersey retirement. Bryant is one of six players to have two numbers retired. The others include former teammate Shaquille O’Neal, Julius Erving, ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich, Earl Monroe, and Oscar Robertson.
Photo via @ComplexSports on Twitter
The night before Kobe passed away he was at the Staples Center to watch LeBron James pass him on the all-time scoring list. Bryant later posted about LeBron talking about how much he admired his game.
Photo via @KingJames on Twitter
On Jan. 30, at the Brooklyn Nets’ first home game after Kobe Bryant’s passing, the Nets honored Kobe and Gianna Bryant by leaving two seats open where the two sat for a previous game. There is a viral video of the two chatting about and breaking down the game.
via @BrooklynNets on Twitter
New Yorkers honored Kobe Bryant in various ways. One person taped ‘Kobe’ over the sign for Bryant Park in a subway station. Kobe had a long history in New York where he had a storied rivalry with the New York Knicks.
Photo via @KiSS925 on Twitter
The Empire State Building lit up purple and gold in honor of Kobe Bryant on Sunday January 26th in honor of Kobe Bryant. Madison Square Garden also lit up purple and gold. Bryant often played at MSG against the New York Knicks.
Via @ESPNNBA on Twitter
Vanessa Bryant posted this photo on Jan. 30 honoring her late husband and daughter. This was her first post since the helicopter crash that claimed Kobe and Gianna’s lives on January 26th. Many thoughts and prayers have been posted by other celebrities and fans on social media extending their condolences to Vanessa.
Via @VanessaBryant on Instagram
Many tributes were made to Kobe and Gianna Bryant after the accident. This mural was created in Los Angeles where Bryant inspired many and made his mark after being a Los Angeles Laker for 20 years.
Photo via @CNN
Kobe and his daughter Gianna, who also passed away in the helicopter crash, at the University of Connecticut women’s basketball game. Kobe Bryant and his daughter were both fans of UConn basketball and Bryant mentioned on several occasions that his daughter wanted to play there. UConn honored Bryant and his daughter by leaving two seats open at a home game on Jan. 28.
Photo via @MagicJohnson on Twitter
The Grammy Awards were held January 26th, the day of Kobe Bryant’s death, at the Staples Center. Bryant’s retired No.8 and 24 jerseys are illuminated during the entire Grammy Award show inside the Staples Center. Singer Alicia Keys also performed in honor of Bryant.
Photo via @BleacherReport on Twitter
Second-year star Hawks point guard Trae Young honored Kobe Bryant by wearing his number 8 instead of his usual number 11. Bryant had a special relationship with Young because his daughter Gianna looked up to Young and admired his style of play and was her favorite player to watch.
Photo via @TraeYoung on Twitter
One fan posted her visit to the Staples Center to view all the Kobe Bryant tributes. Fans shared an emotional scene outside the arena as they paid tribute to Bryant
Photo via @bri_lay on Twitter
A photo of items fans left outside of the Staples Center to honor Kobe Bryant including hats, jerseys, flowers, balloons, and candles. A week after Bryant’s passing and the items still remained outside the Staples Center.
Photo via @lakers_fan1990 on Twitter
One of many makeshift tributes from fans outside the Staples Center. Thousands of fans gathered outside the Staples Center to honor Kobe Bryant.
Photo via @bri_lay on Twitter