Dear Kobe, Thank You

Gianni Martinez, Sports Editor

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“Dear Kobe, thank you for your passion, your commitment, and your dedication to basketball. Thank you for showing us that the number 24 isn’t just a number but the amount of hours in a day you devoted to be the best. Thank you for giving and pushing through when your body said no but your heart said yes. Thank you for your endless drive. Thank you for showing us that there’s no such thing as magic but only hard work.” Not only did tributes by NBA Players who have had the chance to play side-by-side with Kobe pour in, but thanks given to Kobe for being the amazing man he was.

Words cannot express the pain all Lakers fans, family, and teammates are going through at this moment as we witnessed the horrific death of Kobe “Mamba” Bryant; the 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, 12-time member of the All-Defensive team and the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2008. Kobe Bryant was known all throughout the basketball community, he was a huge inspiration for all young boys and girls, and he will forever be known as a legend. He not only represented the NBA, but sports all over the world.  His work ethic alone was incredible; he was dedicated to helping others and even after retirement in 2016, he continued to watch the game of basketball and enjoy it with his 13 year old daughter, Gianna Bryant, who also passed away in the helicopter crash Sunday morning January 26, 2020.

Gianna “Gigi” Bryant(left) and Kobe Bryant(right).

His daughter Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, was among the 8 passengers who also passed away that early morning in Calabasas Californi along with the pilot. Bryant, 41 and his daughter Gianna 13, were on their way to a basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, along side Baseball coach, John Altobelli, his wife Keri, their teenage daughter Alyssa (one of Gianna’s teammates), Sarah Chester, her teenage daughter Payton (also played on Gianna’s team),and the Pilot Ara Zobayan. The teenage girls were expected to play in the game, and Kobe was going to coach, unfortunately none of them made it. The love both of them had for basketball showed every time they watched a game together; basketball was the main factor that brought the whole family together and created a beautiful bond for Kobe and his 3 other daughters, as well as his wife. Our prayers go out to his family, his wife Vanessa Laine Bryant and his 3 other daughters; Natalia Diamante Bryant (17 years old), Bianka Bella Bryant (3 years old), and Capri Kobe Bryant (7 months).

Kobe along side his 3 daughters and his wife, Vanessa.

News of the crash devastated thousands of fans and teammates all over the L.A. area that Sunday morning, heart-broken Lakers fans filled the outside of the Staples Center with stories of what Kobe meant to them. Our former President, Barack Obama shared his condolences on Twitter; “Kobe was a legend on the court. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.” His former teammate, Shaquille O’Neal also paid tribute to Kobe, together they were the dynamic duo and he goes on to say on Twitter: “There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through with this tragedy of losing my niece Gigi & my brother..My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board.”

Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Kobe Bryant, he was truly a giant inspiration who amazed all of us with his phenomenal skills on and off the court, for reaching out to those who were less fortunate than he was, and most of all for being humble and true to himself and his loved ones. They say that heroes come and go but legends live on forever, and that is truly what Kobe will be as well as his beautiful, smart, and talented young daughter who was able to spend her last moments with her dad, the man who ignited the passion she had for the game of basketball. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a news statement Sunday afternoon, “He will live forever in the heart of Los Angeles, and will be remembered through the ages as one of our greatest heroes.” The legacy will now be carried onto his 3 daughters who will forever carry the love of their father and basketball in their hearts,

Mamba out.