On Jan. 26, 2020, a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. claimed the lives of nine victims, including Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant. During his 20-year career as a Laker, Bryant was a five-time NBA champion, an 18-time all-star and a one-time MVP. After retirement, Bryant even won an Oscar for his short film “Dear Basketball” in 2018.
Despite his numerous accolades, Kobe will be remembered for his impact on the game. From mentoring the next generation of NBA superstars to coining the universal phrase “Mamba Mentality,” from providing NBA fans life-lasting memories to inspiring many to shout “Kobe!” when they shoot a basketball, Kobe’s legacy will be remembered long after his death.
After Kobe’s untimely passing, everybody, regardless of their ties to Kobe, the Lakers or sports, came together to mourn the heartbreaking loss. From commemorative social media posts by tennis stars Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka to a tribute mural at the Tenement Court in the Philippines, Kobe’s death looms large among everybody.
The NYU community also took part in mourning the loss of Kobe Bryant, sharing their favorite memories and their thoughts on his legacy.
“I think my favorite Kobe moment was his 81-point game. That was an incredible performance and something that will stick with me forever. I think [my second favorite Kobe moment] was actually something that I just read about, him going and spending time with a 5-year-old boy who was ill with cancer. Obviously [Kobe] didn’t want any media there, so [he] made it a very impromptu visit where nobody knew about it. He spent three hours with the young man and offered the family any medical assistance he could provide. That was the type of person he was.” -Dagan Nelson, Head Coach of NYU Men’s Basketball
“I guess my favorite Kobe moment was his last game, because it just was a closing to the legend of Kobe, and I feel really sad. I was in disbelief at first when I first heard about [his] passing. His life was not meant to end like that, like it was too soon. He was striving for so much and accomplishing so much in his second career after basketball.” -Jorge Barreno, NYU Shanghai junior
“Even though I do not follow basketball closely, when I read the news of his passing, it sucked because it does not matter if you watch basketball or not. Everyone around the world still knew him because he was such a great basketball player and a great person for his community. When I saw the news and I saw the tributes from all the basketball players and my friends, that really hurt deeply.” -Michael Lo, CAS first-year
“From the brief glimpses we got of post-basketball Kobe, it seemed like he was really enjoying his retirement. I was excited to see this side of Kobe, the family man and the wise senior sportsman. Still, I think it is important to remember that Kobe was not a perfect person. In fact, he made several extremely high profile mistakes during his career, which seriously damaged the lives of the others involved. I do not think that Kobe has to be defined by these mistakes, but I do think they are significant to his legacy.” -Emmanuel Hidalgo-Wohlleben, Gallatin junior
“I am not really a basketball fan, never really watched basketball, but my friend used to have a Kobe poster on his wall. So, he was the first basketball player I ever knew. When I was a little kid, I used to really like his shoes. I used to have these purple and gold Kobe 8s; they were the Black History Month Kobes. [His passing] is definitely a tragedy.” -Federico St. Sauveur, Steinhardt junior
A version of this article appears in the Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, print edition. Email Kevin Ryu at [email protected]