Exactly one year to the day, Kobe and Gianna (‘Gigi’) Bryant amongst seven others were tragically killed in a helicopter accident in Calabasas, California. The world mourned Bryant’s untimely death as the families of the victims played out in the public eye. False reports circulated over who exactly was on the plane, if there was a level of intoxication in the pilot and who if anyone was to ultimately blame for the accident. Even though correct details were covered shortly after the crash, the inconsistency of facts and lack of good journalism are also took part in the torment in the tragedy. Despite the ill mattered way in which Kobe’s death was covered, his off-court legacy remains a staple in both the sports and entertainment sector.
Kobe was a remarkable basketball player leading amongst several legends in his sport. Taking the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships his mark on the world did not stop there. Bryant founded Granity Studios in which he hired composer, John Williams, to announce his retirement from basketball in a poem titled Dear Basketball. From there, Kobe went on to win an Emmy, an Oscar, among some of his awards for the film. In an interview with USA Sports Kobe stated, “It’s not something that was expected. As a kid, you kind of have the goal of winning championships and all these sorts of things. Being in the industry that I’m in now? It wasn’t something that was thought of me winning an Oscar.” Dear Basketball went on to win The Academy Award in 2017 along with Best Animated Short in 2018 from the Annie Awards, and prevailed to receive honors at the Tribeca Film Festival and The World Animation Celebration.
During his transition into the entertainment industry from sports, Kobe also gave back to the community. About two years before his passing he started Mamba Sports Academy, a girl’s basketball team whom his daughter, Gianna, was apart of. Along with his wife, Vanessa Bryant, Kobe created a foundation called Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation (KVBFF). Their mission stated, “(KVBFF) is dedicated to improving the lives of youth and families in need, and encouraging young people to stay active through sports.” KVBFF also partnered with other local organizations such as My Friends Place, Step Up on Second, and HomeWalk. Through KVBFF they were able to tackle youth homelessness in Los Angeles and provide after school programs for students. KVBFF is no longer taking donations and now Vanessa Bryant is heading The Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, whose mission is, “a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating positive impact for underserved athletes and young women in sports. Founded through the vision and loving memory of Kobe and Gianna ”Gigi” Bryant.” Kobe will always be a model in the sports arena but his legacy extends those boundaries and will impact for years to come.