Known as one of the all-time greatest players in NBA history, Kobe Bryant was already a living legacy even before he announced his retirement four years ago. But, alas on January 26 US time, the legend had gone too soon.
At brunch time in the States and past 2 in Manila Monday morning, the entire world knelt down shocked when news broke out that the 41-year-old NBA star and his daughter Gianna had died along with eight others following a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Kobe—who often traveled via his private helicopter from his home in Orange County to save time en route to his many commitments past LA traffic—was on his way to attend a basketball tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy. The Black Mamba was to coach his Mambacita's team at the game, held at a training facility he co-founded for professional and amateur athletes in Thousand Oaks in 2018—one he wished to have further molded his daughter Gianna and Gianna's teammate Alyssa Altobelli (fellow casualty in the crash) to be venerable athletes like him. But, alas, Kobe's future legends as well had gone too soon.
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While millions of his fans mourned the loss of an idol on the court, Kobe left an even bigger void in the lives of his family—his wife Vanessa and three other daughters Natalia, 17; Bianka, 3; and Capri Kobe Bryant, who was born just last June.
See, in recent interviews, the NBA All-Star always openly talked about how much he enjoyed spending more time helping raise his four daughters. Kobe was also especially hopeful about the basketball aspirations of his second daughter who he would often be seen watching NBA games with courtside. In the 2015 Showtime documentary Muse, Kobe may have perfectly summed up just how important being a good family man was to him. "There's a choice that we have to make as people, as individuals. If you want to be great at something there is a choice you have to make. We can all be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice. What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that—family time, hanging out with your friends, being a great friend. being a great son, nephew, whatever the case may be. There are sacrifices that come along with that.” For this sports icon, championing his family above all else was the what it meant to be a true winner in life.
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Photos taken from Kobe Bryant's Instagram account