On Jan. 26, Kobe Bryant, former NBA star for the Los Angeles Lakers, alongside his 13-year old daughter Gianna and seven others, was killed in a helicopter crash. Bryant’s tragic event shocked the world, with news sources such as CNN immediately reporting on it. Witnesses say the helicopter flew through fog and clouds before crashing. The night before his death, Bryant was at the Lakers’ game to congratulate LeBron James as James surpassed Bryant to become the all-time NBA top scorer. After that, Bryant would send out his final tweet. “Continuing to move the game forward @kingjames” Bryant wrote, “much respect my brother.”
After hearing about Bryant’s tragic death, James wrote on Instagram, “Literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for once in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have.”
Tributes to Bryant were shown in the week that followed his death, including soccer stars Neymar and Jadon Sancho dedicating their goals to him, and Shakira and Jennifer Lopez adding a tribute to him in their Super Bowl halftime show performance. Other people involved in the world of basketball have paid their respects. Hall of Fame writer Marc Stein said to The New York Times that Bryant “managed to create a worldwide Jordanesque mystique of his own.”
Following Bryant’s death, there has been a movement to make Bryant the new NBA logo, replacing Jerry West, a former NBA Hall of Fame player for the Lakers. The petition has over 1.5 million signatures, with fans passionate to make the change happen. West himself has approved of the idea, saying “if they would want to change it, I wish they would.”
Bryant was drafted straight out of high school in 1996, and he helped the Lakers to five championships. He was named as an NBA All-star for a whopping 18 out of his 20 seasons in the NBA. Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, said to NBC Sports: “For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning.