Kobe Bryant: Lost But Not Forgotten


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Kobe Bryant passes away at the age of 41 from a helicopter crash.

Shivani R., Writer

A legend left our world on January 26th. Kobe Bryant passed away.

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were on their way to a Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a children’s basketball game. They were flying in Kobe Bryant’s private helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76B.  Just before 10 am, the helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California. None of the nine people survived. 

When the helicopter crashed, it immediately resulted in a brush fire, preventing first-responders from having immediate access. A black box, a device that stores information about the aircraft, was not on the helicopter because it was not required. 

According to the New York Times, the helicopter had been given permission to fly by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, even though the fog was too low.

Before the crash, the pilot was trying to gain altitude and circled Glendale for 14 minutes.

 “At one point, an air traffic controller informed the pilot, ‘You’re still too low for flight following at this time,’ meaning the chopper wasn’t flying high enough to register on radar,” said CNN. 

CBS says, “Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby: “At 9:47 a.m. the Los Angeles County Fire Department received a 911 call of a potential helicopter down and a brush fire. Upon arrival, our firefighters discovered approximately a quarter-acre brush fire that resulted from a crash on the hillside.”

The nine victims were Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Ara ZoBayan and Christina Mauser. 

Kobe Bryant was only 41 and planned so much more for his future.  He retired from playing basketball in 2016, after 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Bryant was one of the best basketball players in NBA history. He led the Lakers to five championships, was recognized as an eighteen-time All-Star, earned two Olympic gold medals, scored 33,643 points (the third-highest in league history at that time). 

Bryant was also a legend outside of sports. He earned an Oscar for executive producer of Dear Basketball, coached his daughter’s basketball team, and made it his goal to help children find their voices. 

Kobe Bryant told USA TODAY, “You got to do what you love to do. I love telling stories. I love inspiring kids or providing them with tools that are going to help them.”

The loss of Kobe Bryant has been felt throughout the country. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant won three NBA championships together. At one point their personalities collided, yet they forgave each other and treated one another like family. 

On a broadcast immediately following the crash, Shaq stated, “You know, it makes me think in life sometimes instead of holding back on certain things we should just do it. The fact that we’re not going to be able to joke at his Hall of Fame ceremony. We’re not gonna be able to say ‘ha I got five you got four.’ The fact that we’re not gonna be able to say, ‘if we would’ve stay together we could’ve have gotten ten’. Those are the things that you can’t get back. I wish I could say something to him again. Life is too short. I was thinking the other day I’ve never seen anything like this. All the basketball idols that grew up, I have seen them. The fact that we lost probably the world’s greatest Laker’s player. World’s greatest basketball player. My condolences go out to his family, his mom, his dad, his sisters, the other families, everybody involved Laker organization. I didn’t want to believe it. I said to myself, I hope some buttface made this up. My spirit just left my body. I just wish I was able to say one thing, one last thing, to the people we lost, because once you are gone, you are gone forever. You should never take stuff like that for granted.”

Just the day before the crash, LeBron James passed Bryant for most points in a career. Kobe graciously posted on Instagram, “Onto #2 @kingjames! Keep growing the game and charting the path for the next.” James and Bryant had a special relationship, and James was devastated about Kobe Bryant’s passing. 

“I’m not ready but here I go. Man, I am sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have. I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!! Man, I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially. There’s so much more I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it! Until we meet again my brother!!” said LeBron James. 

Jerry West is a basketball legend and Hall of Fame inductee who once played for the Lakers. The silhouetted NBA logo is Jerry West. West was the general manager for the Lakers and drafted Kobe Bryant to play for the NBA when Kobe was only seventeen years old. 

“The times I spent working with him when he was seventeen years old at my house constantly working, wanting me to go to the gym, watching him play in the summer league. Everyone was excited to see a young kid like that. He was uniquely different. He always talked about mamba mentality. He didn’t have to create that, it was already there. And to watch him search out information, to watch him want to find some way to get better every year. The thing that resents with me the most is his incredible career. One person with one name, Kobe, you don’t even have to mention his last name. And to see the pictures of him and his daughter, sitting at games, hugging them…and to watch this incredible family grow and prosper. And now to see not one, [not] two, but three families gone. Saddest day of my life. I lost a brother in Korea and I didn’t know anything compared to this. I felt like his father for two years. I don’t know if I can get over this, I really don’t,” said Jerry West. 

Kobe Bryant will continue to inspire people throughout Southern California and across the country as we recall his mamba work ethic and deep love for his family. In time, he’ll be enshrined in the NBA’s Hall of Fame. For now, he’ll be cherished in our memories.