Remembering Kobe Bryant


Graesen Joyce

Kobe Bryant said farewell to basketball in 2016 but his legacy on the court lives on

Just before 10 a.m. PT on Jan. 26, 2020 a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter crashed near Calabasas, Calif. Former NBA player Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant were among nine killed Sunday morning. Bryant took the NBA by storm after being picked 13th overall straight out of high school by the Charlotte Hornets, who immediately traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for center Vlade Divac. Before his career came to a close, Bryant was considered an all time NBA legend after winning five NBA championships with the Lakers becoming a two-time NBA Finals MVP in 2009 and 2010 as well as a regular season MVP in 2008. Bryant was an 18-time NBA all star, 11-time all-NBA first team, 9-time all-NBA defensive first team and four-time All-Star game MVP. When Bryant retired, after the 2015-16 season, he also sat third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list; he was recently passed up by L.A. Lakers star LeBron James just hours before Bryant’s death.

According to Dillion Stewart, junior, Bryant’s influence stretched worldwide touching lives becoming a world icon. Many people grew up watching Bryant’s 20 year NBA career, including many KHS students, from his time right out of high school to becoming the youngest player in NBA history and then becoming a champion and all-time great. 

I am a big [Boston] Celtics fan so I hate the Lakers,” Stewart said. “Every time Bryant stepped on the floor I rooted against him and I hated when he torched the Celtics, multiple times, but when he died I was just so sad. The impact he had on the game was enormous.”

— Dillion Stewart

Many fans around the world are still grieving for the loss of their idol, according to Nate Jones, junior. Kobe was a mainstay in the American media even after his retirement, even winning an Oscar award for his short documentary film “Dear Basketball”. 

“Yesterday was one of the worst days I’ve had in awhile,” Jones said. “I love watching basketball and he was such a big part of it. It just doesn’t seem real.”

According to history teacher Jason Evans, the initial feeling was one of serious shock to him. Seeing someone who had to retire so early in his life, Bryant spent his retirement years promoting women’s equality and women’s basketball as a whole. What Evans found to be the most tragic part was that Bryant had over half his life still ahead of him.

“I was shocked because he is my age which is crazy to think about,” Evans said. “I found out a little bit later that his daughter and some of her teammates and their families were involved in the crash as well. As a parent that loss is just unimaginable to me.”