Basketball Legend Kobe Bryant Dies in Tragic Accident


Lakers at Wizards 12/2/15

On Sunday, Jan. 26, former NBA player and legend, Kobe Bryant, 41, died, leaving millions of people shocked and devastated.

He, along with his daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, 13, died when his helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California. They were on their way to Gigi’s travel basketball game, according to ESPN.

His sudden death left people all over the world in disbelief.

Many people payed tribute to him and his family including past teammates and competitors, former president Barack Obama, many celebrities, and even Williston students.

Many Kobe fans crowded around Staples Center to mourn the passing of the Laker legend. Madison Square Garden and the Empire State Building lit up in purple and gold, the colors of the Los Angeles Lakers. Other NBA basketball teams committed 24 and 8 second shot clock violations to pay tribute to Kobe’s jersey numbers while the crowd chanted his name.

Amya James, a freshmen from Brooklyn, NY. Expressed her disbelief when she first heard the news. “I thought that it was a lie. I kept scrolling and hoping it was fake news,” she said. “It was on TMZ and I kept on getting the news notifications and everyone was confirming it. I didn’t know his daughter died until really later right before dinner.”

His death made her realize how precious life is. “It kind of opened your eyes, because he was famous and anyone can die anytime.”

She continued, “His daughter is so young, she’s growing up to be just like her dad. The fact that we lost a legend and a legend in the making is like ‘wow’.”

Cooper Creek a PG from Merredin, Australia, and a member of the Boys Varsity Basketball team, (as well as a staff writer for The Willistonian), said Bryant’s death was “mind blowing.”

“I was in disbelief and I thought it was a hoax in the beginning because Lebron [James] had actually passed him on the leaderboard of scoring the most all time points the night before,” he said. “I thought it was just poking fun at Kobe because of that reason.”

Cooper, told The Willistonian that he was in shock for the rest of the day and the day after that. He expressed his sorrows for Bryant’s family. “I feel very sad for his death especially for his family, and it is very sad his daughter also passed away with him.”

He continued, “It struck me because I also got to watch Kobe [Bryant] play and I didn’t expect he would just die one day. I thought he wouldn’t die for another 40 years.”

Bryant’s death made Cooper reflect upon his own life. “It kind of opened my eyes to the fact that we should all strive to be like Kobe, in the sense that he didn’t wait to go out to do what he wanted.” he said.

“He went for it, and he won five championships. When he was done, he went out and won an Oscar.” Bryant won an Oscar award for best animated short film as the executive producer of “Dear Basketball.”

“There’s no reason to hold back, whether that is to get better grades, get a good job, and talking to a girl, don’t wait, don’t leave any questions unanswered,” he urged.

Wol Maiwen, a PG from Auburn, Maine, a member of the Boys’ Varsity Basketball team, was in denial when he first heard the news. “I was on Twitter just reloading and reloading his page in hope that he’d tweet something out about it all being a hoax…he never did,” he said.

His sudden death made Wol realize that we should not take life so granted. “Tomorrow is really never promised,” he said. “You could be on your way to a basketball game, such as he was, and everything could change just like that.”

Wol continued, “It just goes to show that life isn’t really about how good at basketball or how much money you make, it’s about how many lives you can touch and change in a positive way….even without knowing it.”

Cristina Negron ’22, from Easthampton Mass., agrees with Wol with not taking life for granted. She said, “It’s hard for me to process but it shows that anything can happen and to take advantage of the moments we have with each other.”

She said that Bryant has left such a great legacy. “There are so many videos and interviews resurfacing the internet that show just how amazing a person Kobe [Bryant] was on and off the court,” she said. “Kobe [Bryant] touched millions and it’s heart breaking for someone so great to be lost so early in life.”

Andre Washington ’21, from Staten Island NY., a member of the Boys Varsity Basketball team, said he saw the news of his death on Snapchat. Bryant’s death left an impact on him because he was the one Andre looked up to when he was young.

“Ever since I was little I always watched Kobe [Bryant]. For me that was my Michael Jordan. I used to watch his muse documentary like twice it day,” he said.

Andre continued, “It used to really motivate me and go to the gym and workout. He was really my motivation.”

However, Andre emphasized that Bryant is more than just basketball, he was an inspiration to all. “When it comes to hard work, he valued that. He showed us what it was to enjoy what you do and to work hard at it,” he said.

“It wasn’t just at basketball, but at anything. He shows that with hard work you could really be the best.”