It was a year ago, on January 26, 2021, Kobe Bryant, and his 13 year old daughter, Gigi Bryant, along with seven others boarded a helicopter to fly to a basketball tournament at the then called, Mamba Sports academy. But amid the extremely foggy and harsh weather conditions, the helicopter slammed into the hillside of Calabasas, resulting in the death of everyone on board.
The sports world and beyond have mourned the premature death of iconic NBA champion Kobe Bryant and Gigi Bryant, who had a promising basketball career ahead of her. A year later, the tears have yet to cease. Both players and figures took to the internet January 26, 2021 to pay tribute to Kobe. Since their passing, Kobe and Gigi have received an outpouring of love starting with their memorial service held on February 24, 2020 with tickets going for as low as $24.02 and as much as $224. Countless murals and memorials have flooded the Los Angeles area this past year but the most important tribute to the five time NBA champion was the Lakers 2020 NBA championship. In addition, as part of the 2020 class, Bryant is expected to be posthumously inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame.
Recently, a federal investigation of the incident has led us to believe that the crash, resulting in the death of Kobe Bryant, Gigi Bryant, and 7 others, was due to the pilot’s decision to fly in the poor weather conditions, in violation of federal rules. The pilot, Ara Zobayan, was disoriented and made a “poor decision” to fly disregarding the inadequate weather conditions. This “poor decision” was believed to be influenced by his desire to please his famed client. The chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Robert L. Sumwalt, said that Mr. Zobayan was working under regulations that prevented him from flying in poor conditions, but after experiencing low visibility, he had nonetheless attempted to “punch up” above the clouds. He then became so bewildered, investigators concluded, upon notifying air traffic control that he was trying to gain altitude, he was already drifting left into a rapid descent.
Currently, his wife, Vannessa Bryant, and his daughters, Natalia, Bianca, and Capri, continue to heal. “I love being your mama Natalia,Gianna, Bianca, and Capri.” Vanessa wrote mothers day of 2020, her first mothers as a single mother, telling her girls, “You are all the very best of mommy and daddy.”
This anniversary does not bring us back to that fateful day. Instead, it reminds us that we remain stuck, in front of an emotional barrier, unable to escape from the grips of reality.
“His life influenced my mentality for basketball and his death made me realize that all celebrities and icons are normal people too,” says SMHS basketball player TJ Robinson.
His death has made us realize that nobody is untouchable, even those that seem the most out of reach. The healing process persists. His legacy continues to live through the next generation of hoopers in the form of the mamba mentality; the idea that through the application of intense determination and work ethic, whatever it may be, greatness can be achieved.
“Man, it’s a saying that time heals all,” said LeBron James to reporters. “And as devastating and as tragic as it was and still is to all of us involved with it, only time. And it takes time. Everyone has their own grieving process.”
Time has only presented those with new emotional hardships to overcome. The grieving process has been more complicated than usual given Kobe’s unique impact. There is no time frame on this process and there is no guarantee that we will truly overcome it.
Jaden is a junior at San Marcos High School…