More than just a basketball player: community reacts to the death of Kobe Bryant


@vanessabryant on Instagram

After her husband and daughter died in a helicopter crash, Vanessa Bryant posted “There is no #24 without #2. ❤️#GirlDaddy #DaddysGirl #MyBabies ❤️❤️ #OurAngels #KobeandGigi”

On Sunday morning at 10 a.m., news of a tragic helicopter crash involving NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others spread like wildfire on the internet. Bryant, who was 41 years old, retired in 2016 with five championships during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers and 33,643 points, which ranks 4th in NBA history. Along with that, he also won the Most Valuable Player award in the 2007-08 season and even won an Oscar for his work in the movie “Dear Basketball.” However, the response that Kobe’s death received revealed that he was much more than just a basketball player.

“He was a cultural icon,” junior Eli Conrod-Wovcha said. “Everyone knows the name Kobe Bryant.”

Senior Griffin Thissen said, “If you are around my age, everyone growing up wanted to be like him, and play like him […] I thought the news was fake. I didn’t want to believe it.” 

Other seniors felt the same way.

“I didn’t think it was real, but when it was confirmed I was really sad. He was the stereotypical model of how hard work pays off. He inspired me and so many other basketball players to not only play but actually put in work to get better,” senior Boys Basketball captain Liam Will said. 

Sophomore Jayden Jones said, “It’s really weird that it happened so fast. I feel like I just saw him on TV and now he is dead.”

I always would say ‘Kobe’ whenever I would throw trash away, and shoot it in like I was in the NBA. It’s going to feel a little different now.”

— Nathan Cohen

Senior Helen Bartlett said, “It’s unbelievable that people can die just like that. I saw a video of him two days ago on Saturday…he was laughing and having fun. And now, he is dead just like that. […] When it’s a celebrity that dies like that, I think it shows just how fragile life is.”

“I feel so bad for his wife and his other daughters,” sophomore Vivian Johnson said.

“I always would say ‘Kobe’ whenever I would throw trash away, and shoot it in like I was in the NBA,” ninth-grader Nathan Cohen said. “It’s going to feel a little different now.”