West Reacts to the Death of Basketball Legend Kobe Bryant


By Alli Lipsit, Staff Writer

On Sun., Jan. 26, the world received news that basketball legend Kobe Bryant had been involved in a deadly helicopter crash that took his life. From then on, as the story developed, the tragic helicopter crash seemed to get more and more tragic.

Bryant was flying in a helicopter on the way to LA with his daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven other friends. The group was on their way to the Youth Basketball Academy, where Bryant would coach his daughter and her friends when the helicopter surprisingly crashed, killing Bryant, his daughter, Gianna Bryant, and the seven other people in the helicopter:

John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Ara Zobayan, and Christina Mauser.

The crash has put fans and supporters all over the world in grief. A lot of our very own Niles West students are in shock, and can’t help but the familiar feeling of anguish that is being felt all around not just our community, but so many others.

Many students at West can’t help but look back on in his successes, beliefs, and stories. In fact, Bryant was an avid supporter of the WNBA, and even mentored and worked with Niles West alumni and now WNBA basketball player, Jewell Loyd.

“He was such a great person because of how he carried himself on and off the court, he loved being an advocate for a developing WNBA league and preached that anyone can be great,” junior Asher Andrews said.

Others are reminiscing on what made him a legend on the court.

“Honestly, I think his work ethic was the reason he was one of the best basketball players to ever play the game. He pushed his body to limits that many normal people couldn’t do,” junior David Habash said

Kobe was known for his “Mamba Mentality,” or the mentality that you can always challenge yourself to be better in the pursuit of happiness and self-improvement. For a lot of fans, this is how they will remember Kobe.

“I’m not even a huge fan of basketball, but I’ve always loved the ideas associated with Kobe’s Mamba Mentality. I think it can work towards things that aren’t even athletic because it’s just overall good advice,” sophomore Margot Rudin said.

Kobe’s “Mamba Mentality” seems to have stuck with a lot of fans.

“He worked so hard even in early mornings when everyone would be sleeping. He was a great player. He spent countless hours working on himself in the gym not to mention five rings, two finals MVP’s, 1 MVP, he’s an 18-time all-star, 15-time all NBA, 12-time all defensive, and two-time scoring champion. He worked so hard,” Andrews said.

Kobe was an inspiration to numerous different types of people, but his death seems to be hitting basketball players, especially hard, for obvious reasons.

“He’s always been an inspiration, he was really involved with the WNBA, and the helped Jewell Lloyd create a basketball camp that I attended actually. It’s really sad to see such a legendary basketball player pass away. It’s rough for the basketball community because I know he’s someone most players look up to,” junior Sami Lipsit said.

Lipsit is a member of the Niles West girls varsity basketball team. Friend and teammate Vasi Garbis shares a similar perspective on the tragedy.

“Kobe’s death has really affected me. As a basketball player, I believe Kobe changed the game of basketball. Not only was he a great player on the court, but he was a great person, and he and his children deserved all the happiness in the world,” Garbis said.

The sudden death of Bryant and the eight others aboard the helicopter at the time of the crash comes to show us just how precious life really is.

Everyone should hug their loved ones a little tighter; there are several people out there who will not be able to hold theirs tonight.