“I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I’m like, ‘My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don’t have it. I just want to chill.’ We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it.” -Kobe Bryant
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Vanessa Bryant's speech made me sob. That woman has endured so much pain, and she absolutely did not have to speak today at the tribute, but she did. The absolute bravery of that woman, and I pray for her and her little babies. There are going to be rough days ahead, but if that tribute was anything to go by, surely they will never be alone. 💜💛
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Black Mamba Out: Legendary NBA Star Kobe Byrant Dead At 41
Today the world trembled when TMZ broke the news that NBA great Kobe Byrant died in a private helicopter crash just outside of Calabasas, California. Initially thought to be a crude social media joke, many fans of the NBA legend waited patiently for more credible sources to confirm what so many hoped was not true. ESPN and ABC broke into their coverage of the NFL’s Pro Bowl to relay the heart-wrenching news.
Following these reports, celebrities took to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more to share their disbelief and fond memories of the athlete. Byrant who retired from the NBA in 2016 after a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, was an 18-time NBA All-Star with a staggering five NBA championships during that time. At his retirement in 2016, Kobe remained a certified star and was the third all-time scorer in league history. On January 25, 2020, Black Mamba sat courtside in his hometown of Philadelphia as his record was broken by fellow Laker and NBA powerhouse Lebron James during their match-up against the 76ers. In his final tweet, Byrant said, “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother... #33644.”
Following the star’s death, fans have started to gather at the Staples Center to pay respect and celebrate the life of the 41-year-old star. Fans have also shed tears after realizing we will never hear his Hall of Fame induction speech. NBA great Rick Fox was also rumored to have been one of the people killed in the crash but representatives for Fox have confirmed he was not on the aircraft. Details surrounding the crash are still being vetted and the official cause has not been determined. Before the crash, Byrant was heading to coach his daughter’s youth basketball team during a tournament in the Valley.
Gianna, Byrant’s 13-year-old daughter, has also been confirmed to have been in the helicopter with him along with the pilot, a youth teammate, and her parents. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Kimmel asked Kobe if he thinks she wanted to play in the WNBA. Following the question, Kobe answered, “For sure!” and shared a story about fans coming up to him saying that he and his wife Vanessa needed to have a boy to uphold his legacy. Kobe went on to tell Kimmel that Gianna would always step in and say, “I got this.”
Off the court, Bryant was the first professional athlete and black person to win an Oscar for best animated short film. Barack Obama tweeted, “Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.” This will no doubt go down as one of the greatest sports tragedies of our time.
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