For many, Tuesday was a time for reflection as one year has passed since Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash.
Poet City James reflected on Bryant's career and legacy in a piece for B/R:
The Lakers shared a photo of Kobe and Gianna sitting courtside for a game:
Magic Johnson spoke about his connection with the 18-time All-Star:
Earvin Magic Johnson @MagicJohnson
Thank you God for allowing me enjoy Kobe Bryant for 20 years as a great basketball player, athlete, husband, father, philanthropist, mentor & teacher of the game to many men & women of all ages, best friend to Rob Pelinka, & brother to @jeaniebuss. https://t.co/PgWY3wDzu6
For opposing teams and players, Bryant wasn't somebody you wanted to see on the opposite side of the court. His competitive drive and desire to win propelled him to five NBA championships, and he's fourth all-time in scoring.
The level of respect Bryant commanded from his peers is unquestioned:
Scottie Pippen @ScottiePippen
I'll always wish I had one more conversation with Kobe. For all his greatness and everything he accomplished, his best days were still to come. My thoughts are with the family and friends of Kobe, Gianna, and all the others who were taken from us far too soon a year ago today. https://t.co/SrZunsSqo1
Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George posted a photo of a hug he shared with Bryant: "I knew I held on tight for a reason. We miss and love you big bro! RIP to all the lives lost too soon! Mamba FOREVER!"
Lou Williams was a teammate of Bryant's for Kobe's final year. The Los Angeles Clippers guard reflected on a road game they played against the Atlanta Hawks with the Clippers due to play the Hawks on Tuesday: "Just so happens we in atl today! So we gone put on like we did the last time I was here with you. Forever in our hearts and minds.. long love the mamba"
Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love wrote that Bryant's death "still doesn't seem real."
Veteran swingman J.R. Smith struck a similar tone:
"Took these days for granted. Thought i was really going to play against you forever. Appreciate the competitive nature you brought out in me, s--t can't lie i ain't know i had some of this s--t till you had out them ass whoopings an i had to figure it out. The game misses your avatar but we all know your soul is all around it. Miss you"
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr spoke about how he thinks Bryant will be remembered, per The Athletic's Bill Oram and Jovan Buha:
"I think Kobe's legacy for me is one of passion. It's not his brilliance. His brilliance was obvious. He's one of the great players in the history of the game. Probably a top-five player all time in the NBA. Everyone knows about his accomplishments, the championships, but it's the passion that he put into the game that is his legacy. He worked so hard on his game. He wanted to win so badly. He wanted to be the best so badly. And he committed to that every single day, and I think that commitment to excellence and the commitment to the actual work that it takes to achieve excellence is Kobe's true legacy."
The tributes extended beyond the NBA:
Jemele Hill @jemelehill
I think about my last interview w/ @kobebryant a lot because based off our conversation about @Kaepernick7, I believe he would have been a powerful voice in 2020. Hard not to think about Kobe’s death in relationship to the many things that unraveled after. #Kobe https://t.co/Yi7T9tWQDT
Elle Duncan @elleduncanESPN
The #GirlDad movement was/is an incredible tribute to a man who clearly loved his daughters. But the enduring part of Kobe’s legacy is that he took that love and expanded it into real advocacy and allyship for the cause! We honor him and ourselves by amplifying girls and women!
Through his performance on the court, Bryant influenced future generations of NBA players, and his legacy will have a lasting impact on the game.