Sunday, January 26 was one of the saddest days in sports history, as Kobe Bryant, one of the most prolific scorers in basketball history, passed away after a horrific plane crash in southern California.
What makes Kobe so memorable? First off, he is a great person. Every time a sports fan tuned into a basketball game, or was lucky enough to see him in person, Kobe had a huge smile on his face. Kobe was always chatting with his teammates, and off the court, figuring out how to make an additional impact in this world.
Second, Kobe was a family man. He and his wife, Vanessa, had four daughters together, with the oldest (Gianna, 13) dying in the plane crash, too. Videos surfaced of Kobe teaching Gianna how to play basketball, and sitting curtsied with her at different games. Gianna wanted to go to UCONN to play basketball, and looked to be well on her way there.
Last but not least, Kobe is an excellent basketball player. In his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe averaged 25 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, 4.7 assists per game, and 1.4 steals per game. Kobe was a five-time NBA champion (two-time Finals MVP), 18-time All-Star, and averaged at least 30 points per game three times.
After his death, basketball teams across the nation honored him in several ways. Some teams chose to take 24 and eight-second shot-clock violations to start the game, some chose to honor Kobe with a video tribute on their respective jumbotrons, and some chose to decorate courtside seats with flowers. Players even wore Kobe’s number in their games.
Kobe Bryant, you will always be remembered. Our hearts still ache for you and your beautiful family.
Rest in peace, Black Mamba.