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

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

  • By michael@trendteeshirts.com
  • |

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 county after a two-week civil jury trial last year in 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.

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