Mourning Lives Lost

Zander Carda, Managing Editor

Former NBA star Kobe Bryant was among the nine who were reported to be dead in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on January 26.

As more details emerge, now is a time to mourn the losses of Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, Kerry Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester and Ara Zobayan. On this day we lost nine great people. Those lost were friends, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles. The impact of these nine people including Kobe Bryant, will be remembered for years to come. 

Kobe and Gianna Bryant are survived by Kobe’s wife Vanessa Laine Bryant and his three daughters: Natalia Diamante Bryant, Bianka Bella Bryant and Capri Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant was arguably one of the greatest NBA players of all time. Bryant was drafted thirteenth overall to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1996 NBA draft right of high school. He then went on to help lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA Championships. His career was decorated with awards. He won the NBA MVP in the 2007-2008 season; Finals MVP during the 2008-2009, 2009-2010 seasons; NBA Scoring Leader in the 2005-2006, 2006-2007 seasons; All-NBA First Team 11 times in the 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 seasons; All-NBA Second Team in the 1999-2000, 2000-2001 seasons; All-NBA Third Team in the 1998-1999, 2004-2005 seasons; All-Defensive First Team nine times during the 1999-00, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 seasons; All-Defensive Second Team three times during the 2000-01, 2001-02, 2011-12 seasons; All-Rookie Second Team in the 1996-97 season; Best NBA PLayer Espy Award in 2008 and 2010.

Not only did he earn awards in basketball but he earned them outside of the sport as well. He won an Academy Award for Best Short Film (Animation) in 2018; Espy Icon Award in 2016; BET Award for Sportsman of The Year in 2002, 2003, 2008; Under Armour Undeniable Performance ESPY Award in 2006.

A survey was sent out to the student body and staff here at the high school to capture how it affected each and every one of us. Out of 600 students and staff, 142 promptly answered the survey. Of those that answered, 37 considered him a role model, 18 considered him a hero, 80 knew him just because he was a public figure and 45 didn’t know him. 

The survey was anonymous but I wanted to share some of the heart felt responses. 

“Kobe was a very big reason I started to watch basketball at my age. I wasn’t around for the  Michael Jordan era when he played basketball, but I did get to watch Kobe which was very special. Kobe made watching the sport so exciting and he had the greatest work ethic, in my opinion, of any athlete ever. He just makes you want to work harder as a person to achieve what you want. He always said that nothing comes easy and he proved why he is one of the greatest players of the sport. But most importantly, Kobe always pledged the most to get the most out of your life and live to the fullest. Him dying at 41 is very sad and tragic, but knowing the man he was, you get a feeling that he had lived an amazing life,” said a responder. 

“It made me feel so sad, Kobe was a role model for me ever since I went to LA for a vacation. That’s when I started watching the Lakers and he’s the reason I love to watch and play basketball,” said another.

“Kobe Bryant was the whole reason that I started playing basketball. His passing hit me hard because I grew up watching him as me and my dad are both Laker fans and loved Kobe. He was my childhood hero and role model so I am crushed by his death,” said a third responder. 

“His death was heart-wrenching. He got to watch his daughter take her first breath and was forced to watch her take her last. I can only imagine how he felt knowing that she was going to die and there is nothing he can do about it,” said another. 

“Kobe’s death affected me because all throughout my childhood, me, along with all my other friends looked up to kobe. I remember us all watching highlights on youtube, shouting “Kobe!” after throwing a piece of trash into a trash can, and copying his moves in the driveway. Overall, he taught people all over the world how to work hard, and have fun doing it,” said a fifth responder. 

Not everybody considered Kobe Bryant a hero or a role model. As no one would discount his loss as anything but tragic, for some, his death did not have a huge affect on them.

“It didn’t affect me because of him being a public figure. As a dad however, the idea that one of my daughters is on this helicopter with me, and I know we’re both about to crash, would be…I can’t imagine. As a dad, it affected me greatly to think about one of my kids passing away. I’m thankful for the hope I’ve found in Jesus that I know we’d see each other again. But I can’t imagine how agonizing those last moments would be as a dad, trying to comfort my daughter, while being scared for what I know is coming and she’s about to have to go through,” said one responder. 

“As a basketball star he didn’t have a lot of influence on me as I’m not much of a sports fan, but as a person it’s so sad that not only a man with a family but his daughter as well were taken from the world so very soon,” said another. 

“There is a lot of stigma around him. I’m not particularly fond of him, but all these people bashing him is completely rude and disrespectful. Whether you liked him or not, give people the time to grieve before you go into his past. Especially since he still has a family grieving his loss, and perhaps more importantly, the loss of his daughter with him,” said yet another. 

“I didn’t really watch basketball when I heard about it, but it made me think about what if it was my little sister and my dad. I wouldn’t know what to do,” said a final responder

Whether Kobe Bryant is remembered by GCHS students as a hero and an inspiration or merely as a professional athlete and father who met and untimely death, we can all agree he died too soon as did his companions on the helicopter.