Basketball lost one of its greatest players Sunday. Kobe Bryant, a Los Angeles Lakers legend who will be inducted into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, was killed Sunday morning in a tragic helicopter crash in Los Angeles County, as first reported by TMZ Sports.
Known for his Mamba mentality, Kobe Bryant is among a select few names regarded by basketball fans as potentially being the greatest player of all time.
On Saturday, Jan. 25, current NBA star Lebron James surpassed Kobe’s career point total of 33,643. The achievement was just as much a reminder of Kobe’s greatness as it was a testament to Lebron’s.
Eighteen-time NBA all-star, five-time NBA champion, and two-time NBA Finals MVP, Kobe Bryant is unquestionably one of the best to ever play the game. He will be remembered just as much for his impact as he will his statistics. With two decades in the NBA, he was known as an important player by an entire generation of fans.
In the wake of his passing, thousands of Kobe Bryant stories, interviews and performances have resurfaced, fresh on the minds of grieving basketball fans. There are far too many of those stories to be told here, but many of them are worth reading, telling tales of his incredible dedication both as a basketball player and as a father.
Fans were hit with an additional layer of tragedy when they found out Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, was among the nine killed in the accident. Recently, a clip of the elder Bryant talking basketball tactics with his daughter at an NBA game went viral.
Bryant talked about Gianna during a 2018 interview with Jimmy Kimmel. When Kimmel asked Bryant if he thinks his daughter would like to play in the WNBA, his face immediately lit up.
“She does for sure man,” Bryant said. “I mean this kid, man.”
Kimmel went on to explain how many fans believe Bryant needed to have a son to carry on his basketball legacy. He did not seem to share that opinion, as he beamed with pride talking about Gianna and her confidence.
“Dude, man, I’m telling you. The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans will come up to me and she’ll be standing next to me they’ll be like ‘You got to have a boy, someone to carry on the tradition.’ She’s like, ‘I got this. Don’t need no boy for that. I got this,’” Bryant said.
Gianna was, by all accounts, a rising star in the world of women’s basketball. She was also clearly confident in her ability to live up to her family name. With her undoubtedly bright future tragically over in just an instant, it is now up to the rest of us, from his closest friends to his millions of fans, to carry on the legacy of Kobe Bryant.
Don’t worry, Gianna. We got this.