Kobe Bryant legacy continues to grow four years after his death in helicopter crash (2024)

Jeff ZillgittUSA TODAY

Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, four years ago on Jan. 26, 2020.

It seems like just a short time ago and forever ago all at once.

Tragedy skews the passing of time.

Bryant, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame posthumously, was 41 when he died, and Gianna was 13. They were traveling to a basketball game. Also on board: John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser and Ara Zobayan. Bryant’s legacy lives on with the Los Angeles Lakers, with the NBA and WNBA (both leagues have awards in honor of him), with Nike and with the Mamba and Mambacita Foundation.

Kobe Bryant statue close to unveiling

On Feb. 8, the Lakers will pay tribute to Bryant with a bronze statue at Star Plaza outside of Crypto.com Arena.

“Since arriving in this city and joining the Lakers organization, he felt at home here, playing in the City of Angels,” Vanessa Bryant said in a statement. “On behalf of the Lakers, my daughters and me, I am so honored that, right in the center of Los Angeles, in front of the place known as the house that Kobe built, we are going to unveil his statue so that his legacy can be celebrated forever.”

He will join six other Lakers who have a statue outside of the arena: Elgin Baylor, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West and Chick Hearn.

“Kobe Bryant was one of the most extraordinary athletes of all time, and one of the most iconic individuals in the history of Los Angeles,” Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said. “There is no better place for Kobe to be honored with a statue than here, at the center of our city, where everyone can celebrate him and be inspired by his incredible achievements.”

The date 2/8/24 includes the Nos. 8 and 24 that Bryant wore during his Lakers career.

Who has won the Kobe Bryant Trophy for All-Star MVP?

Just weeks after Bryant’s death, the NBA announced at All-Star Weekend in 2020 that the All-Star MVP trophy would be named in Bryant’s honor: The Kobe Bryant Trophy.

Bryant won the award a record-tying four times.

Since the trophy was named for Bryant, the winners were: Kawhi Leonard (2020), Giannis Antetokounmpo (2021), Steph Curry (2022) and Jayson Tatum (2023). Tatum developed a close relationship with Bryant as he entered the league and had star potential.

“It's extremely special for me,” Tatum said after scoring an All-Star record 55 points last season in Salt Lake City. “My first All-Star Game was in Chicago in 2020 when they renamed the MVP after him. I remember telling myself that day that I've got to get one of those before I get done.

“To be able to wear my signature shoe today and break the record and take home this award of somebody that I idolized, it's a hell of a day.”

It's an award players want to win because of the influence Bryant had on them – directly and indirectly.

Settlement over helicopter crash photos reached nearly a year ago

Last February, Vanessa Bryant agreed to accept a $28.85 million settlement from Los Angeles County in exchange for ending her fight against those she accused of improperly taking and sharing gruesome photos of her dead husband and daughter after a helicopter crash in January 2020.

The settlement includes the$15 million judgment she won against the countyafter atwo-week civil jury trial last yearin Los Angeles.

Vanessa Bryant continues to run sports foundation

On Oct. 2-3, Vanessa Bryant hosted the first Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation basketball camp for 11- to 13-year-olds, partnering with the Boys and Girls Club.

WNBA players Sabrina Ionescu and Jewell Loyd, and Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka were featured speakers.

“You don’t have to be the best player on the court for this experience to be valuable,” MMSF chairman and president, Vanessa Bryant, told campers, according to a news release. “We want you to be the best versions of yourselves. It’s okay to make mistakes and ask questions. Just be open to learning how to make those mistakes better. Everyone is here to support you.”

Pau Gasol honored with Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award

In 2022, the WNBA announced the Kobe and Gigi Bryant Advocacy Award, which “aims to honor advocates and influencers who use their time, talent, and platform to raise awareness for the WNBA, and women’s and girls’ basketball in various ways, like Kobe was so committed to doing.”

Chris Paul earned the honor in 2022, and Pau Gasol, Bryant’s Lakers teammate, was honored in 2023.

Gasol has invested financially in the WNBA, is an advocate for giving women opportunities in sports and has pushed for inclusivity of women’s coaches in the NBA.

Nike continues partnership with Vanessa Bryant

Vanessa Bryant announced nearly two years ago that she reached a deal with Nike to continue a partnership with the sports apparel company, a deal that includes Nike donating 100% of proceeds from Gianna’s shoes to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.

Nike has continued to release Bryant’s shoes, including the Kobe 6 Protro Reverse Grinch just before Christmas, and Nike is scheduled to release the Kobe 8 Protro Radiant Emerald and Kobe 8 Protro Color Purple on Feb. 8.

More releases of Bryant’s signature shoe are planned throughout the year, including the Kobe 4 Protro Philly and Kobe 4 Protro Gold Medal.

Six college programs wear Kobe and Gigi shoes

UConn, Southern California, Kentucky, Oregon, Duke and LSU are the programs who have partnered with the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation and are wearing Kobe and Gigi sneakers this season.

““We are grateful for the amazing support of these prestigious universities (in no particular order) towards the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation – to further the legacies of Kobe and Gigi! So excited to see their players wearing Kobe and Gigi’s NIKE shoes this upcoming season!!!,”Vanessa said on Instagram in September.

Kobe Bryant inducted into Orange County Hall of Fame

On Jan. 12, Bryant was inducted into the Orange County Hall of Fame inaugural class alongside Southern California luminaries that included Walt Disney, Gwen Stefani, Amanda Beard, Greg Louganis and Tiger Woods.

Follow NBA reporter Jeff Zillgitt on social media @JeffZillgitt

Kobe Bryant legacy continues to grow four years after his death in helicopter crash (2024)


Kobe Bryant legacy continues to grow four years after his death in helicopter crash? ›

Four years after his death, Kobe Bryant still lives. Since his life was cut tragically short on this date at age 41 in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of Gianna and seven others, Bryant's impact has subsequently grown beyond any measure of imagination. Athletes still reference him.

What was Kobe Bryant's legacy? ›

Bryant's legacy lives on with the Los Angeles Lakers, with the NBA and WNBA (both leagues have awards in honor of him), with Nike and with the Mamba and Mambacita Foundation.

Where was Kobe going when he died? ›

The 41-year-old Lakers great and others on the helicopter were flying to the Mamba Sports Academy in Newbury Park for a girls basketball tournament. Bryant often took helicopters to avoid Los Angeles' notorious traffic.

Is today the anniversary of Kobe Bryant's death? ›

The shock of Jan. 26 returns every time the faces of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, flash across a screen in smiles and winces and smirks and mean mugs. It is still hard to believe they are gone, even now, four weeks after they and seven others died in that helicopter crash.

What accomplishments did Kobe Bryant have? ›

Career Stats
  • 5x NBA Champion with the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • 2008 NBA LEAGUE MVP.

Why is Kobe Bryant's legacy important? ›

His determination, integrity, and athleticism made him a true leader in black history. In his 41 years, he achieved so much personally and professionally. Kobe's journey represented hope, demonstrated overcoming, and displayed family legacy in a way we don't often see from someone like him.

How has Kobe Bryant legacy impacted society? ›

Kobe's influence extended far beyond his basketball feats. His advocacy for women's sports, his storytelling endeavors, and his commitment to empowering the next generation highlighted his role as a leader in society. Leaders use their platform to make a positive impact, and Kobe's efforts exemplify this philosophy.

Was Kobe buried yet? ›

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were buried Feb. 7 in a private ceremony in Corona del Mar, California, according to death certificates released Tuesday by Los Angeles County officials. The burial occurred at Pacific View Memorial Park, which is near the family's home in Orange County.

Did Gianna Bryant pass away? ›

Where is Kobe Bryant buried? ›

The small cemetery where Kobe Bryant is buried contains the graves of some notable people — including one arguably as famous as the basketball star. Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were buried Friday at Pacific View Memorial Park in Newport Beach. They were killed Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash.

How old was Kobe when dead? ›

He was 41. The crash occurred in the foggy hills above Calabasas, California, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Bryant was killed, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press, and a different person familiar with the case confirmed Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna also died.

How old is Kobe Bryant right now? ›

Kobe Bryant died January 26, 2020 at age 41 in a helicopter crash, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and 7 other passengers.

When did Kobe drop 81? ›

Kobe Bryant scores 81 on January 22, 2006 in Staples Center, Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles Lakers beats Toronto Raptors 122 to 104 in a NBA Regular Season Game. Kobe Bryant, actually, doesn't play the whole 48 Minutes of the Game. Kobe, just, plays 41 Minutes 56 Seconds, which makes 87.4% of the whole Game.

Did Kobe's dad play in the NBA? ›

Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, Kobe Bryant's father, indeed had a career in the NBA. He was a professional basketball player who played for several teams in the NBA during the 1970s and 1980s. His career in the NBA spanned from 1975 to 1983, during which he showcased his skills on the court.

Why is Kobe Bryant a hero? ›

He is considered a hero because he has the trait of being determined, fearless, and inspirational. Kobe Bryant's was successful because of his determined mindset.

How did Kobe make a difference in the world? ›

Global Impact: Kobe's popularity transcended borders, making him a global ambassador for the sport. He helped expand the NBA's international reach and inspired basketball fans around the world.

What was Kobe well known for? ›

Kobe Bryant, the 18-time All-Star who won five NBA championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Lakers, died in a helicopter crash on Jan.

What are 3 of Kobe Bryant's accomplishments? ›

With the Lakers, Bryant is a five-time NBA champion, taking the title in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010. He was twice the NBA's scoring champion (2006, 2007) and even took the North American league's Slam Dunk Contest title in 1997.

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