The Impact of Kobe Bryant’s Legacy Expands Even Further, Four Years Following the Tragic Helicopter Crash

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On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others lost their lives in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California—marking four years since that fateful day. 

The passage of time feels both fleeting and enduring, as tragedy has a way of distorting its perception. 

Posthumously inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Bryant left an indelible mark at the age of 41, alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, as they were en route to a basketball game. 

The unfortunate passengers included John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser, and Ara Zobayan. 

Kobe’s enduring legacy echoes through the halls of the Los Angeles Lakers, resonates in the NBA and WNBA (both leagues featuring awards in his honor), reverberates with Nike, and thrives through the impactful work of the Mamba and Mambacita Foundation.

Kobe Bryant statue close to unveiling

On February 8th, the Lakers will commemorate Kobe Bryant by unveiling a bronze statue at Star Plaza just outside the Crypto.com Arena.

Vanessa Bryant expressed her sentiments: “Since he “arrived in this city and became a part of the Lakers organization, he felt a deep connection here, thriving in the City of Angels. 

On behalf of the Lakers, my daughters, and myself, I am deeply honored that, right in the heart of Los Angeles, in front of the revered venue known as the house that Kobe built, we will reveal his statue, ensuring that his legacy is celebrated for eternity.”

Kobe wi “l stand alongside six other Lakers legends with statues outside the arena: Elgin Baylor, Shaquille O’Neal, KO’NealAbdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, and Chick Hearn.

Lakers owner Jeanie Buss emphasized, “Kobe Bry” nt was an extraordinary athlete and an iconic figure in the history of Los Angeles. There is no more fitting place for a statue honoring Kobe than here, at the epicenter of our city, where everyone can come together to celebrate his remarkable accomplishments and be inspired by his legacy.”

Adding “poignant touch, the chosen date, 2/8/24, incorporates the iconic numbers 8 and 24 worn by Bryant throughout his illustrious Lakers career.

Who has won the Kobe Bryant Trophy for All-Star MVP

Shortly following Bryant’s untimely passing, the NBA, during the 2020 All-Star Weekend, revealed a poignant tribute: the renaming of the All-Star MVP trophy in honor of Kobe Bryant, now known as The Kobe Bryant Trophy.

Bryant, with an impressive four-time win record, left an indelible mark on the prestigious award. Subsequent winners since the trophy’s dedication to Bryant include Kawhi Leonard (2020), Giannis 

Antetokounmpo (2021), Steph Curry (2022), and Jayson Tatum (2023). Tatum, who cultivated a close bond with Bryant upon entering the league and displayed star potential, expressed the significance of the honor, particularly after his record-breaking performance of scoring 55 points in the All-Star Game in Salt Lake City.

Reflecting on the moment, Tatum shared, “It’s extremely special for me. My first All-Star Game was in Chicago in 2020 when they renamed the MVP after him. I remember telling myself that day that I’ve got to get one of those before I get done. 

To be able to wear my signature shoe today and break the record and take home this award of somebody that I idolized, it’s a hell of a day.”

The Kobe Bryant Trophy has become a coveted accolade for players, symbolizing the profound influence Bryant had on them, both directly and indirectly.

Settlement over helicopter crash photos reached nearly a year ago

In February of last year, Vanessa Bryant reached an agreement to receive a settlement of $28.85 million from Los Angeles County. 

This resolution marked the conclusion of her legal battle against those she had accused of mishandling and disseminating disturbing images of her deceased husband and daughter following the tragic helicopter crash in January 2020.

The comprehensive settlement encompasses the $15 million judgment she secured against the county following a two-week civil jury trial in Los Angeles the previous year.

Vanessa Bryant continues to run sports foundation

On October 2-3, Vanessa Bryant spearheaded the inaugural Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation basketball camp tailored for 11- to 13-year-olds, in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club.

Prominent WNBA players Sabrina Ionescu and Jewell Loyd, along with Los Angeles Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka, served as featured speakers during the event.

Addressing the campers, Vanessa Bryant, who also holds the position of Chairman and President of MMSF, conveyed a motivating message, stating, “You don’t have to be the best player on the court for this experience to be valuable. We want you to be the best versions of yourselves. 

It’s okay to make mistakes and ask questions. Just be open to learning how to make those mistakes better. Everyone is here to support you.”

Pau Gasol honored with Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award

In 2022, the WNBA introduced the Kobe and Gigi Bryant Advocacy Award, designed to recognize individuals who, like Kobe Bryant, actively contribute their time, talent, and platform to elevate awareness for the WNBA, as well as women’s and girls’ basketball in diverse capacities.

The accolade was bestowed upon Chris Paul in 2022, while Pau Gasol, Bryant’s former Lakers teammate, received the honor in 2023. 

Gasol’s commitment extends beyond advocacy, as he has made financial investments in the WNBA, championed opportunities for women in sports, and advocated for including women’s coaches in the NBA.

Nike continues partnership with Vanessa Bryant

Almost two years ago, Vanessa Bryant revealed the continuation of her partnership with Nike through a significant deal. This agreement involves Nike contributing 100% of the proceeds from sales of Gianna’s shoes to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.

Nike has maintained the release of Bryant’s signature shoes, presenting offerings such as the Kobe 6 Protro Reverse Grinch just before Christmas. 

Scheduled for release on February 8 are the Kobe 8 Protro Radiant Emerald and Kobe 8 Protro Color Purple, with additional releases throughout the year, including the Kobe 4 Protro Philly and Kobe 4 Protro Gold Medal.

Notably, six esteemed college programs—UConn, Southern California, Kentucky, Oregon, Duke, and LSU—have joined forces with the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, adorning their players in Kobe and Gigi sneakers this season. 

Vanessa expressed gratitude on Instagram in September, stating, “We are grateful for the amazing support of these prestigious universities towards the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation – to further the legacies of Kobe and Gigi! So excited to see their players wearing Kobe and Gigi’s NIKE shoes this upcoming season!!!”

Adding to the recognition of Kobe Bryant’s legacy, on January 12, he was inducted into the inaugural class of the Orange County Hall of Fame, sharing this prestigious honor with Southern California luminaries such as Walt Disney, Gwen Stefani, Amanda Beard, Greg Louganis, and Tiger Woods.

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