Kobe and Gianna Bryant, died in a helicopter crash Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Stephen R. Sylvanie , USA Today)

Kobe Bryant the five time NBA champion and Olympic gold medalist was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, Jan 26, 2020. His daughter Gianna and seven others were on board. 

Bryant was on his way to coach his daughter Gianna, 13, at his Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, California.

Bryant is one of the few people who went straight from high school to the NBA in 1996, he was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets but later was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. 

During his tenure he earned honors such as NBA MVP, Finals MVP two times, 18 time NBA all star, and fourth on the all time scoring list in the NBA.

Bryant was more than a basketball legend, or an inspiration solely for the African American community, but a global icon who people admired. Kobe was known for profound work ethic and how he strived to be the best at everything he set out to do. Whether it was basketball, parenting, or coaching, he was going to put forth his best effort. 

“I have nothing in common with lazy people who blame others for their lack of success. Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses”, -Bryant.

“The most important thing to do is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they do”, -Bryant.

That’s exactly what Kobe did during his lifetime, was to inspire people to be persistent in their everyday life which is better known as the “Mamba Mentality”. 

A few Shepherd basketball players shared their thoughts on how Kobe not only influenced the game but them personally.

“A lot of the time we see women’s basketball looked down on but Kobe was one of the few NBA players that really supported it, being that he was raising a soon to be WNBA star himself. For me, it stuck out that he mentored Oregon women’s basketball star Sabrina Lonescu over the past few years, and just seeing the way she reacted to his death… shows how much effort he put into his relationship with her in order to guide her through her career. I think that speaks volumes,” said junior Sydney Clayton, speaking on how Bryant always supported women’s basketball.

“Why I started playing and gave me a competitive edge because, everyone wanted to be like Kobe… he showed me to never duck any competition and just put a dog mentality in my game,” said sophomore Jon Preston.

“I’d say that his hard work when nobody is looking has inspired me to do the same and I have tried to emulate that. He has always led by example and I feel like I do that every day, because that is something that requires zero skill and is completely dependent on effort,” said Kyle Daggett on Bryant’s influence over him.