Photography by Jackie Veliz
“I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.” -Kobe Bryant
Ask anyone their mind at Las Lomas coming back from the weekend and they’ll tell you a name. This name holds years of exciting basketball games and inspiration to people all over, included in our school. His name carries a legacy, one that will remain unbroken for years to come. The life he left behind will be told from generation to generation. His name lives on the back of his Lakers jersey and trading cards, alongside shoes and merchandise. Everyone knows it, a name that will never lose its flame; Kobe Bryant.
Early on Sunday, January 26th, the world received the shocking news: Kobe Bean Bryant and his 13 year old daughter Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, were among 9 people killed in a fatal helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The news reached millions worldwide around 10AM and instantly, Instagram and SnapChat stories were filled with memorials dedicated to the Los Angeles Lakers basketball player and his daughter.
It seemed as thousands took on the task of remembering the five time NBA champion. Freshman Shaheen Vadpey remembers Bryant as, “…one of my idols…he [Bryant] made me realize how little time there is in one’s life to fulfill their dreams…”
Bryant was born in Philadelphia, named after a type of meat in Japan. His family consisted of major NBA players including Joe Bryant and John ‘Chubby’ Cox. Bryant was immediately put on varsity as a freshman and went on to win a fourth team Parade All-American nomination. As time went on, he was allowed a full ride scholarship into any college, alongside his high SAT scores. But Bryant was drafted immediately by the Los Angeles Lakers, and was the first guard to ever be drafted out of high school. Bryant spent 20 seasons with the Lakers, leading the team to five NBA Championships during that period of time.
Bryant was a household name, as many kids grew up with the joy of shooting a wadded up paper into the trashcan while shouting “Kobe!” as it went in. Others used Bryant as an inspiration to pursue basketball, including freshman Michael Wood, “My number is 24 when I play basketball…whenever I find myself tired and weary I always thought back to Kobe and what he was doing every day…. he helped me to work harder in everything that I do.” Senior Ayana Aichele also remembers him, “…he did a lot to help people in Japan affected by the tsunami and he donated lots of money to help them. It inspired me and I also raised money for the cause as well.” But in the end, Bryant stands as a reminder that nothing lives forever, but it’s up to us as a community, to keep his memory alive. Junior Mason Reese states, “Kobe once said “You have to work to the point where you can’t do anymore and then you keep going. That’s when the real work is put in.”