It is a sad day not just for basketball fans, but for people all over the world. We lost a hero and a loving father, as basketball legend and Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant perished in a helicopter accident yesterday, January 26, 2020, in Calabasas, California.
Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna "Gigi" Bryant were among the nine passengers in the fatal helicopter ride. The group were on the way to Mamba Sports Academy, a training facility founded by Kobe for professional and amateur athletes. The pair shared a mutual love for basketball, with Gianna set to continue her father’s legacy. They were often spotted bonding over live games together.
In 2016, WWD interviewed Kobe, where the NBA star spoke with fondness of his children which inspired his philantropic work for young athletes. "Children have such a beautiful imagination that hasn’t been beaten down by society and the realities of the world. Their mind can just go. The imagination is endless. For us, as adults, hopefully we never lose that. They’ll sit in those meetings and they’ll come up with beautiful stories," he said.
Kobe was often celebrated for using his platform to bring attention to women’s sports, as a frequent attendee and supporter of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). Kobe served as an inspiration to many across the globe and his passing brought devastating grief to many. Celebrities like Taylor Swift, Kendall Jenner, as well as fellow athlete Simone Biles, took to social media to mourn the loss.
Kobe Bryant retired from his professional basketball career in 2016. He played for the Los Angeles Lakers team for 20 years. Kobe was a five-time NBA champion and became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points. Kobe and Gigi are survived by his wife, Vanessa, and their three other daughters, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.