This is a Dodgers blog, but I think it’s ok for us to take a moment away from Dodgers baseball to pay our respects to Kobe Bryant and his family. All of Los Angeles and Southern California is still reeling over the sudden and tragic passing of Laker’s legend Kobe Bryant on Sunday morning in Calabasas, California. News reports are confirming that his private helicopter crashed in Calabasas a little after 9:30 in the morning. Kobe was only 41 years old.
The news hits hard for all of us. It hits a little too close to home for me as the crash site is only about a mile or two from my office. Thoughts and prayers go out to Kobe’s family and friends during this terrible time. Los Angeles is not only in shock, but heartbroken over Kobe’s passing.
Very few athletes were as synonymous with Los Angeles as Kobe Bryant was. Kobe was not just one of the greatest Lakers of all time but one of the greatest NBA players of all time. He was a generational talent who won five NBA championships during his 20-year career with the Lakers. That included two NBA-finals MVP awards and one league MVP award.
He was one of the best we have ever seen on the court. He was so popular and still is today, it makes me think of his enduring legacy. Two things stick out in my mind when talking about Kobe. One was the fact that nobody ever referred to him by his last name. Nobody called him Bryant, they called him Kobe. That’s how we felt about him. He was our star, we felt like he was a personal friend of Los Angeles.
Think about something else for a minute. If you were at work, or at home or anywhere and you crumbled up a piece of paper and shot it into a trash can or waste receptacle, everyone would shout at you “Kobe!” referring to the Black Mamba’s uncanny ability to make difficult or clutch baskets/shots to win Laker games. He was a fiery competitor and one of the most iconic figures in Los Angeles over the last two decades.
It’s not just about the Dodgers over here, it’s also about the Los Angeles sports family. Kobe may be gone but his legacy will live on forever in the hearts and minds of Angelinos. Rest in Peace Kobe. Everyone will miss you.