It’s been a year since basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s death. His wife Vanessa Bryant and his family have reportedly asked NBA teams to not hold tributes to the Black Mamba on his death anniversary.
Bryant died on Jan. 26, 2020 in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Nine people were onboard, including Orange Coach College head coach John Altobeli. Everyone was killed on impact.
The Sikorsky S-76B helicopter that crashed had flown the same journey from Calabasas, California to Camarillo Airport without incident just the day before.
Kobe led a remarkable 20-season career with the LA Lakers, scoring 33,643 career points. Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he led the Lakers to five NBA Championships.
A shooting guard, he ranks fourth on the league’s all-time regular season scoring, following Kareem Abdul Jabar, Karl Malon and Lebron James. He played 18 times in the NBA All Stars and led the American Dream Team in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and 2012 Olympics in London.
Suffering injuries and citing “declining body,” Bryant retired after the 2015-2016 season. He retired as the all-time leading scorer in Lakers history. Three years later, he won an Oscar for his 2017 short animated film Dear Basketball.
“There’s a lot of things that die in this world, but legends never die,” LeBron James said in a video yesterday.
Last year the Lakers won their first NBA title in a decade with LeBron.
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Bryant’s death sent shock waves to the world. NBA players and his millions of fans paid tribute to the legend with murals and instant memorials were put up around the world, most notably at LA’s Staples Center.
On Jan. 31, 2020, a memorial was held at Staples with basketball legends and celebrities paying tribute to Bryant. His fans wore his jerseys Nos. 8 and 24 and their Kobe sneakers.
Speaking at the memorial Michael Jordan, regarded by many as the Greatest of All Time, said, “When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died.”
Crying during his speech, Jordan said, “Kobe was my dear friend. He was like a little brother…He used to call me, text me, 11:30, 2:30, 3 o'clock in the morning, talking about post-up moves, footwork, and sometimes, the triangle. What Kobe Bryant was to me was the inspiration that someone truly cared about the way either I played the game or the way that he wanted to play the game. He wanted to be the best basketball player that he could be. And as I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be.”
Bryant’s sudden death last year is regarded as the “most sorrowful day in American sports history.”
Report: Kobe Bryant’s family has asked teams and NBA to not hold tributes for him this year https://t.co/T509Cpqctb— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 25, 2021
⚡️ “Remembering Kobe Bryant: 1 year later”https://t.co/YrCdV2ACGR— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) January 25, 2021