Aldo Luna and his 7-year-old son, Ethan, gather with a crowd mourning Kobe Bryant at L.A. Live Jan. 26, 2020. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Opinion

Kobe Bryant: Legends never die

Bryant's legacy extends past basketball.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/lukehuang726/" target="_self">Luke Huang</a>

Luke Huang

January 26, 2022
Today is the two-year anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s death. An American professional basketball player for the NBA, with 18 All-Star appearances, 5 NBA Championships, 2 NBA Finals MVPs, Bryant tragically passed away with his daughter, Gianna Bryant, due to a tragic helicopter accident on January 26, 2020.

As reported by ESPN, the helicopter crashed into a hillside just outside of Los Angeles, killing nine people. Throughout his life, Bryant had made an enormous impact in not just the basketball world but society as a whole through his various donations and the founding of many organizations. Not only that, he showed the world a whole other level of dedication and work ethic called Mamba Mentality.

Bryant was an inspiration to watch. He was drafted to the NBA in the first round as the 13th overall pick to the Charlotte Hornets, and then he was soon traded on draft night to the Los Angeles Lakers. He spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, accomplishing a lot.

He won three consecutive NBA championships with center Shaquille O’Neal from 2000 to 2002. In 2006, he scored a career-high of 81 points, the second-highest number of points scored in a game in NBA history. Bryant was even a two-time Olympic Gold medalist as a member of the US Men’s Basketball team.

His accomplishments alone have inspired millions of basketball players, including myself, to strive to become just like him, if not better, one day. He showed us what a man can accomplish, and it inspired many to achieve greatness just as he did.

In addition to his incredible accomplishments, Bryant also made many donations to good causes and founded many organizations with goals to spread goodness throughout the world. For example, Bryant founded the Mamba and Mambacita Foundation to help underserved athletes and young women in sports.

Bryant and his daughter Gigi’s vision was to create an environment where boys and girls had equal opportunities and chances to pursue their dreams of sports and life. This organization is still being run by the Bryant family and still strives to reach those in need.

Bryant also supports another program called Stand Up to Cancer, “Su2C”, where he personally delivered messages to those battling cancer and their families as a way to help raise money for cancer research. In total, he raised more than $81 million in 2012 to support the cause.

Many may think that Bryant is a selfish person due to his infamous personality of tenacity and drive to win on the court. However, actions like these show how in reality, he has compassion and humility and was also dedicated to making a difference off the court as well.

Bryant is a hero and an inspiration to many all across the world. Shattering records left and right in the NBA, he left a legacy in the basketball world. He also left a legacy of giving back to the community by being a philanthropist and sharing his wealth with the world.

Even though Bryant is not here with us today, his legacy will never die and never be forgotten. Rest in peace to the greatest basketball player ever.