Remembering Kobe Bryant

NBA legend leaves a legacy on and off the court

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City College Times reporter Armond Fuller speaks to basketball player Arda Eroglu Feb. 10 in the SJCC gym.

Individuals around the sports world and beyond are still struggling to come to terms with the sudden deaths of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26.
“We all took Kobe’s death pretty hard,” said Devin Aye, the head coach of San Jose City College’s men’s basketball team. “I cried. I’m just glad we didn’t have a game that Wednesday because that hit home, and I know the guys took it pretty rough.”
Immediately after the news broke, tributes to Bryant, his daughter and the others who perished in the crash poured in from individuals, not only in the world of sports, but also government officials and entertainment figures.
“He was somebody that I always respected just because he was so much more than a basketball player. He was highly intelligent, inquisitive, curious,” said San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich on the NBC Sports Chicago’s website.
“We all know about his competitiveness, but he was a strategist. He was focused. He was driven and would have been successful no matter what he chose to do in life,” Popovich said.
Popovich’s Spurs had battled it out with Bryant’s Lakers in some legendary playoff duels in the 2000s and into the early 2010s.
NBA royalty such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant also paid homage to the victims of the crash.
“It’s hard to comprehend all of this; but just having that time and those moments with Kobe, he’s always about pressing forward said Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant on the Sports Illustrated’s website. “At this time it’s so hard, just the amount of impact he had on all of us.”
The impact of this news extended as far as the Oval Office as President Trump and former President Obama both took to Twitter to extend their condolences to the Bryant family.
Bryant’s impact on basketball is undeniable.
He was drafted into the NBA straight out of high school by the Charlotte Hornets, who would later trade him that same night to the Los Angeles Lakers. The rest is history.
Bryant was a five-time NBA champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP and 18-time NBA All-Star; these are just a few of his accolades from his storied career that spanned a total of 20 seasons.
Bryant’s reach even extended to SJCC’s campus.
“He’s the reason I started playing basketball,” said Arda Eroglu, guard/forward for SJCC’s men’s basketball team. “I cried. I was really emotional, and I didn’t take it well. I felt like I knew him.”

At this time it’s so hard, just the amount of impact he had on all of us.”

— Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant

As phenomenal of a basketball player as Bryant was, his impact went beyond the hardwood.
“He was a big influence, especially to kids that didn’t have father figures. He set the example,” said Jayvon Fisher, guard for SJCC’s men’s basketball team. “His work ethic and how he didn’t give up is something we all have to keep in mind.”
This tragedy struck everyone in different ways.
For anyone involved in the basketball community in any way, Bryant just could not be gone.
Jeanie Buss, the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, penned a letter to Bryant in an Instagram post a few days after the tragedy.
Buss opened the letter by writing, “Kobe, I don’t know how to express what you mean to me, my family and the Los Angeles Lakers.”
More or less, everyone experienced that same loss for words upon hearing the tragic news that Sunday morning.
Many rooted for Bryant, and many rooted against him; however, the one commonality among those two different groups of basketball fans was the respect harbored for his ridiculous talent.