1 Year Later
~Elijah Williams, Staff Writer~
Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. A date which will live in basketball infamy. It is one of those dates that people remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they first heard the devastating news. For many, it felt like another Sunday. The world was waiting in anticipation for that year’s Super Bowl. Then, the news broke.
Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “GiGi” Bryant and six other family friends were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA.
It was such a shocking ordeal for many viewers to watch across all television networks, some had to turn their eyes away. With the all-day television coverage, tears soon flowed from many people alike. Regardless of race, gender or creed, the love for the Bryant family was palpable. Those tears came from the eyes of many of Bryant’s countless accrued fans over the years, as well as the journalists and celebrities who interviewed and came into contact with Bryant in the past. It was especially shocking for sports fans. In a matter of seconds, one of the most legendary basketball players in the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) history was gone right before their eyes. The event was made even more tragic as the world came to discover that the Lakers star’s 13-year-old daughter was on board as well.
Losing such a basketball powerhouse and his rising superstar daughter seemed to put a sour start to the new decade, and the months that followed did not differentiate much either. Nevertheless, the realm of basketball will never be the same without the likeability and charm of Bryant dribbling down the court.
Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. The one year anniversary of that tragic day. The globe’s leading sports network, ESPN, constantly broadcasted specials, interviews, personal accounts and tributes surrounding the event and the life of Bryant and his daughter. Journalists are still recounting some of their favorite encounters with Bryant on and off the court. In addition, social media timelines are rapidly being filled with Kobe’s best NBA performances.
Even though it’s a year later, albeit a devastating past year at that, the pain of the two Bryant’s passing still has left deep cuts and unfillable wounds amongst sports fanatics. Regardless of whether people watched basketball or not, their deaths have impacted people the world over. Bryant’s wife recently posted a message of thanks in an Instagram post due to the outpouring support from millions of fans and general well-wishers.
While the helicopter crash that killed nine individuals remains a sharp and painful memory, many rising basketball athletes can take away the hard-work and determination as lessons that made Gianna a stand-out player and Kobe a basketball icon.