The news fell at 8:34 pm this Sunday, in a mixture of dread and pain. In a helicopter with his daughter Gigi to accompany him to the Mamba Sports Academy, Kobe Bryant died in an accident at the age of 41. The world of basketball, and of sport in general, is in mourning.
Immediately the reactions follow each other and logically resemble each other. We don’t want to believe it. It is not possible. It may not be possible. Unfortunately, the first news relayed by TMZ was picked up by the AFP, and there it immediately became sadly serious. Because this is the legend of the Lakers in question, there is no longer any doubt. The appalling confirmation will come from ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowksi, who said that Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, another teenager of the same age and her father, also died in the crash. A group that was going, on this winter Sunday, to share the same and unique passion, the one that has marked Bryant throughout his career, all his life. It was in the city of Calabasas, California, that everything changed for the legend of Los Angeles.
This weekend was that of the basketball festival in France but will also remain, alas, as a date to mark with a black cross in our memories, in the memories of anyone who has loved NBA, near or far since 1996 , year of his Draft, first chapter of a book that will last 20 years, with the hundreds of memories to which we will obviously return very quickly, to pay tribute to him. To think of him, to remember, and to remember together how much man has conditioned our fan lives. And if detractors have sadly appeared in the first hours to get out their forks, we prefer to mute them and say this: it is impossible to deny the weight of Kobe Bryant on the NBA for twenty-five years now, impossible to deny the place it takes in the history of our favorite sport, and impossible to deny the impact it has had for athletes in general. Immediate example, Neymar the soccer player who, miles away from all this, will dedicate his last goal from the penalty spot by showing 2 and 4 with his fingers, directly at the camera: that of the legendary number 24 of Kobe.
Tonight is an essential moment of meditation and long inspirations filled with memories that dominate us. Kobe Bryant died with his daughter, a phrase that was never thought to be written and should never be written.
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