‘Mamba Mentality:’ Kobe’s Legacy Before and After Death


Courtesy of CNN

Gianna Bryant (left), age 13, and father Kobe Bryant (right), age 41, were on their way to one of Gianna’s basketball games when their helicopter unexpectedly crashed into a hillside in Calabasas.

Gabby McCutchan, Section Editor

Kobe Bryant, former Lakers player and known NBA legend, was tragically killed in a deadly helicopter accident with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant on January 26th, 2020. 

Alongside seven other people in the helicopter, Kobe and Gianna were on their way to one of her youth basketball games when the aircraft crashed on a hillside in Calabasas, California. All nine people aboard the helicopter, including the pilot, were killed. 

The coroner would not release the identity of the other passengers at this time, however it has been said that other passengers on board consists of a teammate of Gianna’s, the mother of said teammate, and a baseball coach from Orange County (TIME News).

The aircraft allegedly caught fire and consequently crashed into a hillside, sparking a small brush fire that made it difficult for emergency responders to approach the scene. 

It has been reported that weather conditions in Los Angeles had been foggy that Sunday morning, but there is no confirmation that the foggy state actually contributed to the crash (Slate).

Courtesy of Business Insider
Kobe Bryant alongside his privately owned Sikorsky helicopter that crashed on Sunday.

As the investigation continues, officials have confirmed that they will look into whether or not the pilot made the right decision in flying the aircraft in such conditions. 

The factual reason as to why the helicopter crashed still remains unknown. 

The news of Bryant’s death shocked the entire nation. And not just in the sports community, as it was clear that his death reverberated outside into other aspects of fame and influence. 

Stars like Justin Timberlake, Robert Downey Jr., Justin Beiber, Taylor Swift, Khloé Kardashian, and even former president Barack Obama, vocalized their condolences for the Bryant family. 

Screenshotted by Gabby McCutchan

As well as celebrities, Kobe’s death has undoubtedly affected both our own YLHS basketball players and regular students as well. Kathy Chao (11), a basketball player at YLHS, commented on the situation, “Kobe was always a role model for any player on the court. He showed us leadership, sportsmanship, and how to keep our heads up after any game. He will always be the MVP and a legend in basketball history.” Many of those who attend YLHS expressed their grief over the tragedy through Instagram and Snapchat stories.  

Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, has yet to make a statement about the situation. In addition to Gianna, 13, Kobe and Vanessa had three other children. Natalie Bryant, 17, Bianka Bryant, 3, and Capri Bryant, only 7 months. Celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez have directed statements personally towards Vanessa Bryant, expressing their words of condolence and support. 

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Fans both nationwide and worldwide have come together in grievance over the NBA legend. Thousands of stunned fans gathered in Los Angeles for a vigil at the Staples Center in remembrance of Kobe. Fans laid flowers, candles, and signs of their appreciation for the basketball player while chants of “Thank You Kobe” filled the outside vicinity. 

Users of the internet have additionally begun to pay their respects towards platforms such as petitioning. One such petition has been started on the popular, online petitioning platform Change.org that Kobe should be added the official NBA logo. The petition has been set to gain a maximum of a million votes, and has earned over 500,000 in less than a day. 

Screenshotted by Gabby McCutchan
In honor of Kobe and his legacy, Mark Cuban stated he would be retiring the number 24 to be worn on the court.

The owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, announced in a statement on Twitter that he would be formally retiring the number 24 in honor of Kobe. 

Throughout his life, Kobe gained more and more recognition as his life progressed. Listed in the slideshow is a brief overview of the NBA’s player’s life and his accomplishments.

Kobe Bryant was not only an inspiration to many, both on and off the court, he was also a loving husband and father. Through his tragic death we as Mustangs can continue the legacy of his ‘Mamba Mentality,” a term Bryant used to describe the level of intense focus and and persistent attitude he engaged in when preparing himself for a challenging task.

As we brace ourselves for the challenges that second semester throws at us, let us remember Kobe and his motivational encouragement with ‘Mamba Mentality.’