By Adam Kolb / Co-Sports Editor

Jan. 26, 2020 was a dark day for NBA fans around the globe.

On that day, the world was shocked to hear the news of the helicopter crash that resulted in the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, as well as John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester and Ara Zobayan. Despite this tragic news, games were still played on that day, even after talks of postponing games so players, coaches and fans could mourn the loss of an NBA icon.

I remember watching a couple of games that day, and seeing the body language of the players. It was obvious that they didn’t want to be there. There was a lack of energy and intensity in those games, and they seemed to just be going through the motions for 48 minutes. I had never seen anything like it, and it just shows how important Kobe Bryant was to everyone associated with the NBA. His death affected everyone in the league.

Kobe Bryant was a role model for so many current players in the NBA, and he even trained with many of them in the offseason. Bryant wasn’t just a mentor for basketball players, but for athletes of all sports. It’s impossible to name all of the athletes that he has inspired throughout the years. However, it wasn’t just athletes that he inspired. His “Mamba Mentality” mantra relates to anyone for any situation, to not only find something that you’re passionate about but mastering it and never giving up on it. This mindset was so important to Bryant that he even wrote a book about it- “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play.”

Bryant was also a huge advocate for young girls playing sports, and was a supporter for women’s sports. He would often be seen at WNBA games with Gianna, who had hopes of playing in the WNBA someday. What he did for women’s basketball was incredible. He opened so many doors for so many, and inspired so many current and former WNBA players.

And if that wasn’t enough, Bryant won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2018 with “Dear Basketball”, which reflected the poem that Bryant wrote in 2015 about his retirement from the NBA and the game he loved.

Kobe Bryant was an icon to so many people around the world. Even if you weren’t a fan of basketball or sports in general, you knew about Kobe Bryant. He was more than just a terrific athlete. He was a great husband, a great father, and a great role model. He touched many lives for many different people, athletes and non-athletes alike. Even though Kobe Bryant has been gone for a year now, his legacy will live on forever.

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