Kobe Bryant's legacy extends beyond his own success on the court.
While the Lakers superstar will always be known for the impact he made on the sport sence. He was more than just that. He was an Oscar winner. An author, storyteller, a mentor, coach, a loving father, husband, and a dear friend. The 5-time championship winner played for the Los Angeles Lakers throughout his 20-year career and quickly became an icon in the community.
And on Sunday morning (January 26), when the news broke that the 41-year-old had died in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old Gianna Maria Onore-Bryant (Gigi); hundreds of thousands of fans rushed to the Staples Center in Los Angeles to mourn the enormous loss and honor the life and legacy of the Lakers legend. Sport fans brought balloons, Lakers memorabilia, bouquets of white, purple and yellow flowers and paid tribute to the longtime NBA player.
REAL 92.3 Los Angeles made its way to the heart of Downtown Los Angeles to talk to fans about what Kobe Bryant meant to them and to the city of dreams, Los Angeles, California.
Host and media personality, Van Lathan said Kobe was truly admired by the city and his fans. "Every single obstacle that was put in front of him, he kicked it down using his talent, work-ethic and using what was inside of him." He adds, "it's a lesson to anyone else to continue to work and strive for what it is that you want."
One Black Mamba fan mentioned how Kobe inspired him to be a better father. "When I saw how involved he was in his daughters lives, I shared that similarity with him being a fan of the Lakers." He continues, "I wouldn't be here with my daughter wearing purple and gold if it weren't from him. He touched me."
"For me he was my childhood hero," another die-hard Kobe Bryant added. "Being an adult to father to a champion. His work-ethic and talent was more than anything I've ever seen in a person, let alone an athletic."
Another fan recalled having "a Laker theme wedding." She goes to describe how her wedding table was named Kobe Bryant. "He meant so much to me, to the game. It's just so sad to see him so fast," she said.
Outside of the arena, basketball lovers broke their emotional silence to cheer as a screen flashed a photo of the retired Lakers star and daughter Gigi reading, “In Loving Memory.”
It's never easy saying goodbye especially to someone who meant the world to many of us. But rest easy Kobe and Gianna Bryant. We will continue to celebrate your legacy for years to come, Kobe.
Until then, Mamba out!