Tuesday marks one year since Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, family friends and a pilot tragically passed away in a helicopter accident. The sports world was turned upside down that fateful day and while time has helped heal, a painful void remains.
While the Lakers organization and fans face an emotional time, there has been a focus placed on celebrating Bryant’s memory and accomplishments over a storied 20-year career. It’s what LakersNation.com staff members kept in mind when asked to reflect on the past year.
Matthew Moreno (@MMoreno1015)
Like countless others have previously noted, thinking of Kobe Bryant brings about a groundswell of emotions. You hurt for Vanessa, the Bryant family and other families impacted by the tragedy. You can’t fathom why such a tragedy would have occurred.
Then there’s remembering the greatness that Kobe was on the court. The relentless drive to always be the best version of himself, and how that extended to his post-career days as a husband, father and coach.
The pain may never leave, but neither will Kobe’s memory, and there’s comfort to be found in that.
Ron Gutterman (@RonGutterman24)
As difficult as it has been to process the loss of Kobe Bryant, I definitely find some comfort when I watch old highlights and moments from his legendary career. He’s the reason I watched basketball in the first place, and I don’t believe I would be where I am today without him.
I’m sure there are millions of fans that are still struggling the way I am, perhaps even more, but the Lakers taught us a great lesson last season about pushing forward during hard times. I always feel better knowing that Kobe will be talked about as an L.A. and basketball legend for the rest of time.
Matt Peralta (@_MatthewPeralta)
Kobe taught me how to turn negatives into positives. Mamba Mentality was always more than just a saying to me; it’s how I approached anything I did. After the accident, the first thing I thought was how Kobe would’ve wanted me to turn the tragedy into something positive.
I miss and think of Kobe everyday, but I make sure that whatever it is I’m doing I’m giving it my all. Kobe being gone will always hurt, but I’d like to think I’m making him proud by attacking things head on just like he would.
Damian Burchardt (@D_Burchardt)
Just like you succeeded in your revenge mission against the Celtics, you delivered on your promise enshrined in the now-famous retirement poem.
You always remained that kid, holding rolled-up socks in your hands.
Whether through your books or surprise appearances at games, Gigi by your side, you kept teaching the world Mamba Mentality.
It’s in Sabrina. It’s in AD. It’s in the generation of future hoop stars to come.
At the time of great division, it became a particularly unifying force. But you surely know that, smiling from heaven at those facing their own garbage can in the corner.
Ironically, you got that one wrong.
Mamba was never out. It still inspires people so they can be great.
And it will, in whatever they want to do. Forever.
Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH)
It’s very difficult reflecting on the life of someone who was so influential, but one thing that has been so amazing to witness has been the discovery of just how major his reach was to so many people around the world.
The number of stories from everyone talking about interactions, wise words and motivation have really allowed me to reflect on the true impact someone can have on others and strive to do the same.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the heart of Pau Gasol throughout this. From constantly checking in on the Bryant family to the dedication to Gianna with his own daughter, we can only hope to have friends like Pau Gasol in this life.
Trevor Lane (@Trevor_Lane)
I try to focus on the positive elements of Kobe’s life; what he stood for as an athlete, as a father. The relentless drive to conquer his own human limitations, regardless of how futile the quest may be. He never settled, never stopped growing, always ready to conquer the next challenge in his path.
That said, it’s still all too easy to get lost in the sadness of January 26. I’ve gone down the YouTube rabbit hole only for the room to get mighty dusty, but that’s okay. Lakers Nation will probably never get over losing Kobe, but that’s just an indication of how much he impacted us all.
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