Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna Byrant, and seven other passengers were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif.
Bryant leaves behind three daughters and his wife, Vanessa Bryant. I can only offer my thoughts and prayers to the Bryant family as well as the other families who lost their loved ones in this terrible tragedy.
In his 20 year career in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant became a legend, an icon, and a source of hope and inspiration for his fans. He transcended his fame as just a basketball star and became an international super-star. His legacy and impact will forever be ingrained in the NBA as well as the city of Los Angeles.
Bryant’s playing career came to an end on April 13, 2016 where he put up 60 points against the Utah Jazz- one last performance only he was capable of. After his retirement, Bryant stayed busy coaching Gianna Bryant’s travel basketball team. He founded the Mamba Academy and even won an academy award for his short film, ‘Dear Basketball.’ Bryant pursued additional business, remaining active in designing his sneaker line with Nike, and with Bodyarmor sports drinks by helping to gain official partnerships with the UFC, MLS, and several notable athletes, including Sydney Leroux, Klay Thompson and Mike Trout.
Bryant was a notable philanthropist, as well, both during and after, his playing days. He granted more than 200 wishes for the Make-A-Wish foundation that helps children with serious or terminal illnesses see their dreams come true. He was an ambassador for the After School All-Stars program which provides suitable after school programs for thousands of kids across major U.S. cities. Bryant also donated $1 million to Call of Duty’s endowment program that helps veterans transition back into civilian life.
The sudden death of Kobe Bryant impacted an unimaginable amount of people from current and former NBA players, athletes from every sport, the announcers of NBA games, and his millions of fans. Bryant’s death has been felt around the world. In his 41 years, he certainly left the world a better place than he found it, and for that I am grateful.
Thank you for everything you gave to the world and most of all, thank you for inspiring so many people to achieve greatness in any form. You will be sorely missed.