The death of a legend: Kobe Bryant passes away in a helicopter crash


Credit: Hannah Locke

Victoria McGowan playing in the Junior Varsity basketball game on Tuesday. McGowan looked up to both Kobe and Gianna Bryant.

Clara Moss, Social Media Editor

On Sunday, January 26, the 41 year old retired basketball player Kobe Bryant passed away along with his 13 year old daughter Gianna, also known as Gigi, in a helicopter crash that killed nine people. The helicopter went down in Calabasas, California, and was on the way to Gianna’s basketball game.

Along with the basketball star and his daughter, seven others died. One of Gianna’s teammates and her mother, and another teammate along with her dad and mom passed away. The pilot and another basketball coach died as well.

Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers for twenty seasons and had four daughters, Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, and Capri. Bryant has been married to Vanessa Bryant for nineteen years.

Bryant was an Olympic gold medalist, a world champion, won five NBA titles and fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

“I think he’s left a legacy for the Lakers,” Loy Norrix sophomore and basketball player Victoria McGowan said about Kobe’s impact on basketball.

McGowan looked up to Kobe, but more so Gianna. McGowan used to watch Kobe’s videos when she was going through a rough time, but Gianna made a bigger impression on her. McGowan says because she’s young and such a hard worker.

Gianna Bryant played basketball for the Mamba Sports Academy that was created by Kobe. She hoped to play at the University of Connecticut, who is a dominant team in women’s college basketball and then for the WNBA. Gianna hoped to follow in her father’s footsteps.

Ara Zobayan was the helicopter pilot who died in the accident and is described as kind and caring by those who knew him. Zobayan was an experienced pilot who also worked as a flight instructor.

John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli were a family traveling with the Bryants to the basketball game. John was a baseball coach at Orange Coast College and was named the national baseball coach of the year in 2019 by the American Baseball Coaches Association. Alyssa played on the team with Gianna and regularly traveled to basketball with her parents and the Bryants.

Christina Mauser was a basketball coach at Mamba Sports Academy and leaves behind her husband, along with three kids. Mauser’s husband spoke out about how devastated his family was and how amazing his wife was.

Payton Chester attended St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano and played basketball with Gianna. Payton was traveling with her mother, Sarah, and the Chester family was mourning their loss on Sunday.

The country mourns the loss of a basketball legend and his upcoming daughter, but the impact they have left on the basketball community will be long-lasting. Across social media, people are sharing memories about Kobe and Gianna’s impact, but after the identities of the other victims were revealed, even more memories have come out.