Opinion: Remembering Kobe and Gianna

The+news+of+Kobe+Bryant+and+his+daughter+Gianna%27s+passing+on+Jan.+26+shocked+fans+at+UC+and+around+the+world.+One+week+after+the+tragedy%2C+UC+students+still+remember+the+legendary+NBA+player.+Source%3A+%40kobebryant

The news of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna’s passing on Jan. 26 shocked fans at UC and around the world. One week after the tragedy, UC students still remember the legendary NBA player. Source: @kobebryant

Michael Schebel, Special Assignments Reporter

Over the past 20 years, there has been one name tied to almost universal acclaim: Kobe Bryant. A five time NBA Champion, an NBA MVP and a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Bryant became a household name and a larger than life figure to millions of people around the world.  

To me, a lifelong Lakers fan, Kobe means so much. Whether it was shooting baskets in my driveway pretending to be him hitting a buzzer beater, buying his shoes or just watching him play on TV, there are so many great memories.

However, on Sunday, Jan. 26, Kobe Bryant was involved in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California and passed away at the age of 41. His 13-year-old daughter Gianna also passed away in the crash, as well as  Orange County baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife and daughter.

There were nine total fatalities reported. The helicopter was supposedly on its way to Gianna’s basketball game before it lost control. It was a very foggy day in the region which could have contributed to the crash. 

“I enjoy all the tributes, but my favorite ones by far are the stories being told by friends and family. It was amazing to see how some of these tributes captured moments of him being an amazing father and husband, not just a basketball player.”

Travis Geniti, Senior at UC

Since Sunday, the internet has exploded with an outpouring of condolences to Bryant and his family during this very tragic time. This shows that the impact he had on the court perhaps did not compare to the impact he had off of it, whether it was as a father, a husband, a friend or as someone who simply inspired a whole generation of kids to be great and not settle for being “just good enough.”  

The NBA teams around the league paid tribute to Bryant by getting an eight second backcourt violation and a 24 second shot clock violation to start the game. Bryant wore both of those numbers during his 20 year career as a Laker.  

Source: @kobebryant

Senior Adam Ziobrowski was shocked by the news of his passing.

“I was putting laundry in the dryer and my roommate told me that he passed away. I just couldn’t believe it,” Ziobrowski said. “I was never a big Kobe fan, but he was the greatest of our generation and I’m glad I was able to watch him play.”

Even if you didn’t watch basketball, you most likely knew who Kobe Bryant was. He was a once in a lifetime talent in the NBA, but it did not come easy. He was known for having the “Mamba Mentality” because of his extremely strong work ethic and desire to be great.  

That mentality and work ethic is something that senior Evan Dimaio looked up to.

“The way he approached the game with a killer instinct and extreme focus was something I admired,” Dimaio said. “At a very young age, I tried to emulate his work ethic in everything I did.”

This drive to be great is something Bryant passed on to his young daughter Gianna. She loved the game of basketball as much as her father and was destined to be great too. He was the teacher and she was a student. Her dream was to play for the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team.  

During their scrimmage on Monday against team USA, the women’s team honored Gianna with a custom jersey that had her number two on it. They also honored her father before the game started by holding a 24-second moment of silence. 

Senior Travis Geniti loves what people around the world have been doing to remember Kobe and Gianna.  

“I enjoy all the tributes, but my favorite ones by far are the stories being told by friends and family,” Geniti said. “It was amazing to see how some of these tributes captured moments of him being an amazing father and husband, not just a basketball player.”

After this tragic accident, it shows life is never guaranteed and that we should cherish the time we have with the people that are in our lives. One thing that is certain is that the legacy of Kobe and Gianna will live on forever.