BY Mikenzie Carbone
Assistant Sports Editor
Kobe Bryant, a former National Basketball Association (NBA) player, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven others, passed away in a helicopter accident on Jan. 26. Kobe and the eight other passengers were traveling to attend a basketball tournament when the helicopter crashed in Calabasas, Calif., due to a dense morning fog.
According to the Associated Press, the helicopter went down about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Kobe, Gianna, and the seven other passengers were presumed dead at the scene of the accident when the helicopter burst into flames after crashing on a steep hillside.
Kobe was a renowned basketball star, and played the 20 years of his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers before retiring in 2016. Following his retirement, Kobe established a sports academy called “Mamba Sports Academy”.
Mamba Sports Academy got its name from Kobe’s own nickname, “Mamba.” According to the Mamba Sports Academy website, the program “enlists diverse experts to support youth, amateur, and elite athletes with a Full-Circle training approach including body, performance, and mind training.”
The academy was known for its mentality that athletes lived their lives by.
“Mamba Mentality isn’t about seeking a result. It’s about the journey and the approach. It’s a way of life,” said Bryant.
The Mamba Mentality reached a level of respect that will live on through athletes and the forever fans of Kobe and Gianna Bryant.
The death of a well-known legend and his daughter struck the world. Although many did not know Kobe personally, the mark he made on the world has many mourning in pain.
“It’s just crazy. Everyone grew up idolizing him. Even if you never played competitive basketball, you still are hurt by the news of losing someone who built a legacy and mentality for so many people,” said junior Connor O’Neill. “You could tell Kobe and his daughter were so close and she exemplified so many resemblances to him. It’s just hard to put into words how it feels.”
The news affected many people, from people that respected his legacy to super-fans who adored and admired Kobe their entire lives.
“I’m a huge basketball fan and I was shocked. After seeing all the interviews from Doc Rivers, Jay Williams and others, I really did start to tear up,” said junior Jacob Dentch. “Kobe meant the world to so many other role models. His daughter’s death was also extremely tragic.”
Outpours of love and gratitude have filled the air over the past few days. Support has been spread to the victims’ families who will forever be affected.
“I was shocked because it was such a sudden tragedy that happened, especially with his young daughter on the plane and all the other passengers who also have spouses and children whose worlds were turned upside down,” said junior Bianca Abel. “The tragedy showed me to not take anything for granted. Kobe and the other eight passengers were just their way to a basketball game, something they loved to coach and play every day.”