On Sunday, retired NBA star, Kobe Bryant, was pronounced dead at age 41 due to a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., according to confirmed ESPN sources. The news unravels with worsening sorrows as Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also involved and deceased. The two were commuting to a travel basketball game before things took a turn for the worse. The county’s Sheriff Department verifies that no passengers on the flight had survived. Orange Coast College confirmed that its baseball coach, John Altobelli, his wife, Keri and daughter, Alyssa, were among them. The accident occurred in Calabasas, home to roughly 24,000 residents of Los Angeles County.
Within an instant, the sudden death has devoured every social media outlet with everyone from celebrities, to athletes, to politicians, to strangers posting their love and condolences for the family. Sports television personality, Stephen A. Smith spoke live on ESPN yesterday about his devastation and shared nothing but sincere words about Bryant. In Orlando, Fla., NFL athletes played with heavy hearts as they honored the former Laker during the 2020 Pro Bowl in Camping World Stadium.
After 20 years of loyalty to the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant declared retirement after his 2016 season. With the establishment retiring both jersey numbers he wore, 8 and 24, it is no question he left an unforgettable mark during his time in L.A. With the mourning of his death also comes great memories. Those who had the pleasure to know Bryant have been publicizing the 41-year-old’s unique talent and grit. Bryant attended Lower Merion High School, located just outside of Philadelphia and to no surprise, was drafted into the NBA following his 1996 graduation.
Not only has part of the sports world died today with Bryant, but people are sharing the same amounts of disbelief and heartache. Former NBA player, Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal, explained his anguish via Twitter.
Another very close friend to Bryant, Lebron James, has not yet posted anything regarding the account, however, pictures have been released of James returning from a flight with a drained and sorrowful look. The Lakers superstar just happened to surpass Bryant’s career NBA points Thursday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.
For young, up-and-coming NBA players, Bryant’s death will now have an everlasting effect on their performances and outlook on the game. Bryant set numerous examples that nothing he earned was from God-given talent, but rather a strong will to practice and train as hard as he could. Bryant will forever be remembered as someone who shaped basketball in one of the most humbling ways possible. Nothing but sympathy is sent to the families involved in yesterday’s event, especially Bryant’s wife, Vanessa and their three remaining daughters.