One year ago on Tuesday, Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter accident outside of Calabasas, California. He was one of nine confirmed dead, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, six family friends and the pilot. He was 41.
Regarded as one of the best players to walk the court, Bryant was a five-time NBA champion, an 18-time all-star and ranks fourth on the basketball league’s all-time regular-season scoring and all-time postseason scoring lists.
He stuck with the Los Angeles Lakers for the duration of his 20-year career and cemented a promising yet unfulfilled legacy in the entertainment capital of the world.
To honour Bryant’s untimely death, many celebrities, such as Jimmy Fallon, Spike Lee, Magic Johnson, Pau Gasou and Snoop Dogg have posted messages on social media to pay respect to the basketball icon.
Vanessa Bryant paid tribute to her late daughter and husband by sharing a letter written by one of Gianna’s best friends, Aubrey, on her Instagram.
“I will never understand why/how this tragedy could’ve happened to such beautiful, kind and amazing human beings,” she said. “It still doesn’t seem real. Kob, we did it right. Gigi, you still make mommy proud. I love you!”
Fallon posted an interview clip with Kobe Bryant from The Tonight Show, where the two reminisced on a story where the two of them went on a drive in Bryant’s Land Cruiser to pick up beer for a party.
“Can’t believe it’s been a year since we lost #KobeBryant,” Fallon said. “Celebrating his life today, and feeling grateful to have known him.”
Lee posted a video montage on Instagram in honour of Bryant with the caption, “One Year Ago Today. Rest In Power.”
“Thank you God for allowing me enjoy Kobe Bryant for 20 years as a great basketball player, athlete, husband, father, philanthropist, mentor & teacher of the game to many men & women of all ages, best friend to Rob Pelinka, & brother to Jeanie Buss,” Johnson said.
Gasou shared a letter on Twitter commemorating his former Lakers teammate. “Not a day goes by that you are not present in what I do,” Gasou said. “Your spirit, your drive, your ambition, your love… continue to shine in my life and many others. Photos, videos, very special moments kept being shared by countless people that have admired you and loved you in their own way, reminding me how incredibly lucky I have been to share some of those moments with you.”
Snoop Dogg posted a video on Instagram with the caption “Miss u Kobe,” reminding his followers of the time he gifted Bryant a custom Pontiac Parisienne convertible painted yellow and purple as a retirement gift.
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