On the Spot: Campus mourns death of NBA legend (with video)

Ben Lancaster


Camden Southwick

Coppell High School sophomore Devin DeLoach is one of many fans of Kobe Bryant who are surprised to hear of his death in a helicopter crash on Sunday. Bryant, 41, played 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers and won five NBA titles, while having his jerseys No. 8 and No. 24 retired by the Lakers following his 2016 retirement.

Jillian Moore, Staff Writer

Yesterday, 41-year-old NBA star Kobe Bryant and 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant were identified as two of the nine passengers killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. Their losses are felt heavily among those in the basketball community and those not. 

Throughout his basketball career, Bryant amassed many awards, most significantly five NBA championships and NBA Most Valuable Player in 2008. However, his impact is felt not only through his awards but from his emphasis on working hard and personal dedication. 

“As an athlete and a basketball player I really looked up to Kobe Bryant,” Coppell JV2  sophomore basketball player Thea Massi said. “His drive, worth ethic, and success really inspired me and so many people around the world. The mindset to constantly put in your all, no matter what obstacles you might face, Kobe called this the Mamba Mentality.” 

As the details of the accident unfolded, those who play basketball felt an incredible loss as Bryant was an idol to many players. The dedication and work ethic that CHS coaches hope to instill in their players is inspired by Bryant’s dedication to the game. 

“I did not believe [the news of his passing] at first and then it was sad,” Coppell assistant girls coach Julieann Hartsburg said. “It was almost as if somebody you knew had died even though I had never met him before. It definitely hit hard because I knew he was traveling with his daughter  because you have to think about his wife not coming home to her husband and kid.”

The loss of Bryant’s daughter hit close to many female basketball players. Gianna was planning on following her father’s footsteps in pursuing a career in basketball. The support her father showed in helping her achieve those goals was influential in the lives of female players at CHS. 

 “Kobe always looked out for the female athletes, primarily basketball players. I appreciate how much he dedicated his time to fight that athletic gender barrier,” Coppell varsity sophomore basketball player India Howard said. 

Following the news of his death, many fans gathered at a memorial last night across the street from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. 

Throughout his professional basketball career, Bryant inspired many to play basketball. Those who found their passion from watching him play will continue his legacy in their own personal lives and basketball careers.

“Kobe is the reason I decided to play basketball,” Coppell sophomore JV basketball player Daniel Nwachukwu said. He’s made kids all around the world decide to play basketball.” 

Follow Jillian (@jillianmoore_) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.