The world mourns the loss of Kobe Bryant


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PV students honor the late Kobe Bryant with a purple and yellow theme at a basketball game. Students remained seated until PV scored their eighth point in recognition of Bryant’s jersey number for the first half of his career, eight.

Jimmy Feeney, Multimedia Manager

“I thought guys like him lived forever,” said Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu. The death of Kobe Bryant made the world come to a standstill. 

On Jan. 26 in Calabasas, California, nine people, including former NBA star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant, all perished in a helicopter crash while heading to a youth basketball game. 

Bryant’s impact on both basketball and the world cannot be overstated.  Bryant’s death had a profound effect on many people throughout the world, both those who have known him since his high school days at Lower Merion and those who never met him. 

Part of those who never met Bryant yet felt an effect by his passing were PV’s own basketball players. Junior basketball player CJ Ragins spoke about how the news first hit him. “I initially thought it was a hoax,” Ragins said. “It didn’t feel like it was even possible that someone as legendary as Kobe could pass away.”

Students at the high school remembered Bryant by having a purple and yellow theme at a basketball game in late January and not standing until PV scored eight points, the same number Bryant had on his jersey for the first half of his career.

PV librarian Cari McDonald was a huge fan of Bryant. In a recent Facebook post of hers, she talked about the impact Bryant had on her life, and the sadness of losing him. 

There are a million things to be sad about, and the loss of a sports icon shouldn’t necessarily be one of them. I haven’t thought a lot about Kobe in the last four years, but somehow I still have his image on my wall and my refrigerator, his book on my nightstand, and his last game on my DVR,” McDonald said. “I cannot put away childish things. Childish things bring me joy…Childish things allow us all to navigate the difficulties we never saw coming.”

The loss of a major figure like Bryant created grief for many who never even knew him. Feeling anguish about that kind of loss often does feel “childish” or not worth time feeling pain over; people do feel that pain anyways. 

ESPN host Tony Reali spoke about feeling grief for someone you never met. “It’s okay to be affected by the passing of someone you did not know personally. With someone’s passing part of you can pass too, part of your childhood,” Reali said. “To be affected by someone’s passing is compassion in its most pure form, ‘to suffer with,’ quite literally.”

Bryant’s life was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. However, the profound effect he had on others was felt once he had passed away. Hundreds of fans gathered outside the Staples Center once they heard of his death to remember him. 

Along with regular fans, many of those who are famous paid homage to Bryant as well. Neymar, a famous soccer player playing all the way in France, showed fans a two and four on his fingers to represent the number Bryant had for the latter half of his career, 24.

The death of Kobe Bryant, or the “Black Mamba” as many called him, shook the world to its very core. Both in Iowa and halfway across the world, people felt the heartbreak of losing a beloved icon. Kobe and Gianna Bryant are survived by wife and mother Vanessa Bryant and three daughters and sisters, Bianka, Natalia and Capri Bryant.