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After canceling a game to allow the players time to grieve, the Lakers held a memorial honoring Bryant on Jan. 31 prior to their game against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Laker players wore Kobe jerseys with the No. 24, shed tears, and consoled each other, remembering their friend and inspiration. Lebron James, who has been with the Lakers 19 months, did his best to commemorate Bryant for his lifetime hard work and addressed the Laker nation with heartfelt, healing words. “As I look around this arena, we’re all grieving,” James said. “We’re all hurt. We’re all heartbroken. But when we’re going through things like this, the best thing you can do is lean on the shoulders of your family.” Since the day of Bryant’s death, citizens of Los Angeles gathered out of the Staples stadium, creating makeshift shrines with candles, flowers, and balloons.
A week or so after the death of Kobe Bryant, people and organizations still mourn his death and pay tribute to the legendary basketball player. NBA teams and basketball stadiums all around the nation such as the Rockets and the Celtics held moments of silence all last week, displaying videos and images of Bryant and his daughter Gigi. Several teams like the Raptors and Spurs honored the deceased player who bore a No. 24 jersey with a 24-second shot clock violation. Outside of the basketball world, celebrities, reporters, and athletes of all kinds pay tribute to Bryant. The National Football League (NFL) paid tribute to him on Superbowl Sunday, Feb. 2, with a moment of silence in the opening ceremony. Soccer player Neymar Jr. posted a youtube video of moments he shared with Bryant. Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men sang “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” as a tribute during the 2020 Grammys.
The world was at a standstill when news of a fatal helicopter accident left nine people dead on Sunday, Jan. 26. Among the nine were Kobe Bryant, 41, his daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, 13; John Altobelli, 56, his wife Kerri Altobelli, 46, their daughter Alyssa, 14; Christina Mauser, 38; Sarah Chester, 45, her daughter Peyton Chester, 13; and the pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.
In his lifetime, Kobe Bryant’s drive to be the best broke records and changed the game of basketball. He was drafted into the NBA at the age of 17, one of the last prep-to-pro players before the practice of drafting high school players was prohibited. Playing for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 seasons, Bryant was a part of five NBA championships. He appeared and played in 15 All-Star games, winning four All-Star MVP awards. He was a two-time Olympic gold medalist. No one can forget the Raptors v. Lakers game in 2006 when he scored 81 points, the second-most points scored in NBA game history, or his farewell game before retirement in 2016 where he scored 60 points and made his “Mamba out” speech. His love for basketball was so profound he narrated an animation film, “Dear Basketball,” which led him to win an Oscar.
Kobe Bryant inspired a whole younger generation of basketball players, many who are playing in the NBA right now. He was and will always be one of the greatest. Gigi Bryant, “Mambacita,” was to carry on her father’s legacy, but her chance to show the world was cut short. Above all his accomplishments, Byrant was a loving husband and father to four beautiful daughters. He takes one of his daughters with him, and the world will continue to pay tribute to them, even if only in memory.