Basketball legend Kobe Bryant dies in tragic accident

Allie Nichols, Copy Editor

Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant recently passed on January 26, 2020 from a helicopter crash in Calabasa, California. Unfortunately, the eight other people that were on the helicopter also died. Those who were lost include Bryant’s daughter Gianna, baseball coach and wife John and Keri Altobelli, their daughter Alyssa, mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester, basketball coach Christina, and pilot Ara Zobayan. Families of those who departed and fans alike mourn for Kobe, Gianna, and everyone else who were called home. 

Bryant was an American professional basketball player. He was a shooting guard and entered the NBA right out of high school. He played all 20 seasons of his professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers as number 24. In 2008, Bryant won the MVP award, and in 2014, he surpassed Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA all-time scoring list. More recently in 2018, he earned an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball. Bryant once said, “I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.” 

Wife and mother Vanessa Bryant said that she and family are “completely devastated” at this “horrific time.” However, she also stated, “I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon.”

Fellow Lakers players mourned Bryant by sharing their favorite memories and stories of him. LeBron James recalled the iconic 2008 olympics game and the moment between Bryant and Pau Gasol.  The Lakers’ director of sports performance Dr. Judy Seto explained that Bryant was not trying to get into Gasol’s head for the medal, he was “planting a seed for Gasol to obsess over what he needed to improve on for the upcoming season so that L.A. could win it all.” 

Celebrities are not the only people moved by Kobe Bryant’s passing. Sophomore at WSHS Jennifer Gonzalez said, “I was moved by [Bryant’s] passing because he helped so many people. He was inspiring and practice. It’s just awful to think about the fact that he went into that helicopter not knowing that it would be his last.” Another student, Christelle Dalce described him as “always determined to help people. I feel like he’s the kind of person to see someone down and do everything he can to try and lift them up.”