The Death and Legacy of Kobe Bryant

It is hard to believe that a whole year has passed since sudden and tragic loss of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, which was one of the most devastating blows in the world of sport in 2020.

Who was Kobe Bryant?

Kobe Bean Bryant, (also known as Black Mamba) was an American basketball player who was drafted at 17 years of age and spent his whole NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was extremely competitive and known as one of the most hard working players of all times. Kobe was not just successful on the court, he was also very engaged in different foundations for social inequalities, such as supporting women sports or creating the Kobe Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation to provide help for families in need. Things like these made him very popular in the eyes of the public.

How did Kobe Bryant die?

Photo by Janine Robinson on

Kobe Bryant died together with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and 7 other people in a helicopter crash on the 26th of January this year. The helicopter started from John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana and was on the way to Gianna’s game in Thousand Oaks. The pilot needed to get special permission to fly the helicopter because of bad weather conditions. Two of the passengers in the Helicopter were members of Gianna’s team who were joined by their parents. Additionally, there were a basketball coach and the pilot onboard. All of them died in that helicopter crash.

Why did the death of Kobe have such a tremendous impact on the public?

Now, the question is how a death of a single man caused the whole world to mourn for several months and totally captivated the attention of all social media platforms. First of all, Kobe was one of the most famous athletes of all times, and millions of people loved and admired him for both his remarkable personality and fantastic skills on the court. I believe that another reason is that his death was so sudden and unexpected that the whole world found itself in a state of shock.

“What if, what if, what if?”

There are also different psychological reasons for why it affected so many people. Due to the special circumstances surrounding his death such as that it was foggy and that they needed an extra permission to fly, the public created certain “what if” questions and scenarios. People started thinking about how it would all be if they did not get that special permission, what if the game they were going to was to start an hour later, what if, what if, what if? Another psychological factor is based on the emotions triggered by the loss and how they affect us. When we watch people who have unexpectedly lost their loved ones, (such as Kobe’s wife) we start appreciating the ones close to us more and get the urge to show them how much we love them. We can simply relate to the situation on the personal level.

Photo by Connor Jalbert on

Finally and most likely, the greatest reason for the tremendous public mourning was that his 13-year-old daughter died in this helicopter accident. His young daughter. The one that was as crazy about basketball as Kobe was. In interviews, Kobe said that she would be the one that would carry on his basketball legacy and that she wanted to make a huge difference in female sport. After all, there is no bigger tragedy than losing a child.

All of these factors made people, who did not even know him or who hardly heard of him, mourn his death and the death of the other passengers from the helicopter. At the end of the day, we could say that Kobe Bryant was just a human being like everyone else, and thousands of people die every day. However, at the same time, he was a person that many people looked up to and were inspired by. As a basketball fan, I’ve been mourning the death of Kobe Bryant myself and I know for sure that he will continue to be dearly missed in this world.

Written by Meo Martin, Lund, Sweden

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