Remembering the Mamba

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Kobe Bryant, an NBA legend, died on Jan. 26 at the age of 41.

Caleb Hiatt, Staff Writer

This past weekend on Sunday Jan. 26, former Los Angeles Laker and NBA superstar, Kobe Bryant, died in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The nine passengers included Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, one of Gianna’s teammates Alyssa Albotelli along with her mom Keri and dad John, another one of Gianna’s teammates, Payton Chester with her mother Sarah, assistant basketball coach Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan. It was reported that the helicopter was on its way to one of Gianna’s basketball games when it crashed. After the heartbreaking news, many athletes and celebrities around the world began commemorating the legend.

 The Toronto Raptors and the San Antonio Spurs, who played a game on Sunday hours after the news about Bryant surfaced, were among the first of many teams to take a 24 second shot clock violation in honor of Bryant’s jersey number 24. Teams also took eight-second backcourt violations as a tribute to Bryant’s other jersey number, which he wore in the first 10 years of his career. Trae Young, an Atlanta Hawks player who typically wears number 11, wore the number eight to show his respects. In addition to multiple NBA players honoring the fallen legend, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban announced that “the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick,” because “Kobe’s legacy transcends basketball.” Petitions have even been started to change the silhouette in the NBA’s logo, which is currently of NBA legend Jerry West, to Bryant.

Basketball was not the only sport that showed respect for Bryant. Neymar, a Brazilian soccer player playing in Paris, held up a two and a four on his fingers, as well as pointing to the sky after scoring a penalty kick. Hall of Fame baseball player Derek Jeter also wrote a tribute, in which he addressed the fact that Bryant was one of the greats on the court but “he cared much more about being a husband to Vanessa and a dad to his girls.” Bryant was undoubtedly among the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball, but he was much more than that: he was a husband, a father of four and he even won an Oscar for his short film “Dear Basketball.”

Bryant inspired many through the 20 years he played professional basketball, and into the years of his retirement as well. He was known as “the Black Mamba” because of how hard he worked and his want to always be the best on the court. Bryant also applied this “Mamba Mentality” to everything he did, whether it was on the court, at home with his family or even making movies. He created a legacy that everyone can learn from and will be missed by many.