Kobe Bryant: A legend to remember

While traveling with his daughter, Gianna Bryant, basketball legend Kobe Bryant's helicopter crashed, killing him, Gianna and seven others Jan. 26. Millions have been mourning the losses alongside the Bryant family.

Photo Illustration by Maddy Truka

While traveling with his daughter, Gianna Bryant, basketball legend Kobe Bryant's helicopter crashed, killing him, Gianna and seven others Jan. 26. Millions have been mourning the losses alongside the Bryant family.

All too soon, a legend was taken from us at the age of 41: Kobe Bryant. He was a five-time NBA champion, the Los Angeles Lakers all-time leading scorer and an idol for many. While traveling with his daughter, Gianna Bryant, his helicopter crashed, killing Kobe, Gianna and seven others Jan. 26. 

English teacher and former basketball coach Casey Holland was born in the same generation as Kobe. As a child, Holland watched Kobe on his TV and admired him from the start.

“Kobe was drafted into the league in ‘96. I was 10, and the draft class was a big one. [There were] some great names in there, but Kobe was the one I looked up to–his ‘Mamba Mentality.’ That guy is special, and his talent mixed with his work ethic, which made him remarkable,” Holland said. 

Hearing the news of Kobe’s passing was shocking to people.

“He said ‘heroes never die, but legends stay.’ That had a huge impact on me because it lets me know that I am a legend, and I’m not going to stop; I’m going to stay forever,” recreational basketball player junior Greg Wheatley said. 

While athletes were affected by Kobe’s death, people who are not athletes, like junior Kayla Stephenson, was also impacted due to the connection she shares with her family.

“My cousins like basketball a lot, and they talk about it all the time. [It still has a huge impact on me] because I really do care about the people around me, and the people around me also play basketball just like Kobe did,” Stephenson said.

Though Kobe has passed away, his legacy will continue. 

“One memory that sticks out to me was when he won the [NBA Slam] Dunk Contest his rookie year. He was fun to watch. When I got the news Sunday, [I thought of] me buying his first shoes, Adidas Crazy 8, and wearing them. I thought I could play like him,” Holland said.

When Wheatley played basketball, he said he felt what Kobe felt on the court.

“You [felt] that you understood that what he did inspired many and helped people do better,” Wheatley said. 

As we mourn the Bryants and the others killed in the accident, lessons can be learned and acted upon for the future.

“Live in every moment. Don’t think about the past, don’t think about the future, just live in the moment and cherish everyone you have around you,” Stephenson said.  Tell people you love them every chance you get; tell them so they have a constant reminder. If you have anything against someone, let it go because life is too short.”