A loss that shattered the world: The deaths of Kobe and Gianna Bryant

Bryan Pearson-Reese, Sports Reporter

Earlier this week, NBA icon Kobe Bryant was in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California that claimed his life, as well as the lives of eight others.

Other lives tragically lost were: Bryant’s daughter Gianna, as well as her teammates Payton and Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser, Orange Coast College Baseball coach John Altobelli, his daughter and wife, Alyssa and Keri, and pilot Ara Zobayan.

The helicopter was said to be flying in tumultuous weather conditions Sunday evening due to foggy conditions. The weather conditions made it difficult for responders to investigate the crash as well. According to the New York Times, Los Angeles County fire chief Daryl Osby said the crash site was difficult to access and firefighters had to hike to the area.

Bryant was an 18-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion in his 20 season career. Bryant was drafted in 1996 by the Los Angeles Lakers where he spent his entire career. He averaged 25 points a game, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists in his career. Bryant is the only Lakers player to have two jerseys retired in the Staples Center.

On top of an incredible athletic career, Bryant was also very much a family man. His daughter, Gianna, wished to follow in her fathers’ footsteps. Gianna had dreams of playing for the University of Connecticut Women’s Basketball team and regularly attended several games with her father. Bryant, a father to three daughters, as well as being a loving husband to his wife, Vanessa.

Outside of sports and being a family man, Bryant was also very active within the community and helped to shape youth who had aspirations just as him, and shaped them to become the best athlete they can be.
Since his passing, sales for both Bryant’s jersey and sneakers have increased. According to NBC News, after the crash, a pair of the Kobe 5 ‘Big Stage Home’ sneakers sold for $924.

The loss of Bryant, and his daughter, as well as the seven others involved in the horrific helicopter crash last Sunday evening, will continue to affect many people; those who looked up to him or saw the potential in Gianna’s performance, as well as for anyone who has a dream to be the best version of themselves that they can be.