Kobe Bryant’s passing: One year anniversary

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Julia Barth, Sports Editor

Tuesday, January 26 marks one year since the tragic plane accident that took the lives of nine including pro basketball icon Kobe Bryant and his young star Gianna Bryant.

The world seemed to stop when everyone heard the news. The nine passengers, including Kobe and Gianna, pilot Ara Zobayan, Coach John Altobelli and his wife and daughter Kerri and Alyssa, Christina Mauser who helped coach Gianna’s team, and Sarah and Payton Chester. Payton Chester and Alyssa Altobelli were players on Gianna’s team. The passengers were traveling to one of the daughter’s youth basketball tournaments.

On that foggy day, the helicopter suddenly began plummeting at about 4000 feet per minute at 184 miles per hour before slamming into the grassy hillside in Calabasas California. The impact caused a football field worth of scattered debris, and the helicopter became engulfed in flames after the crash.

There was quick action taken after the tragic event, including Vanessa Bryant suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department claiming they took and shared unauthorized photographs, and suing the helicopter company and the pilot himself for acting careless and negligent by not calling off the potentially dangerous flight considering the conditions (thick fog).

The National Transportation Safety Board quickly opened an investigation and found that there was no sign of a mechanical error or failure on the helicopter they were flying, and deemed the pilot suitable with no alcohol or drugs in his system. 

There is still no closure for this case even a year after leaving thousands wondering what went wrong. The National Transportation Safety Board has been investigating the whole time and is expected to hold a live conference about the cause of the crash 2 weeks after the one year anniversary.

There were no words to describe the emotions felt on the day of the crash and even the months following. Multiple mourning events and memorials took place following the event as people all over struggled to deal with the loss of such an icon on and off the courts.

On February 24, the Staples Center, where Kobe spent most of his time playing for the Lakers, hosted a memorial for Kobe and Gianna with 20,000 in attendance. Thousands of people posted their grievances on social media including many celebs. Michael Jordan, a long time friend and role model of Kobe made a heartfelt speech at  a celebration of life event saying  “… when Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died.” That really showcased the emotions thousands of basketball players, team members, and even fans were feeling. Everyone grew up yelling “Kobe” as they shot the ball, so losing such a star really hit everyone hard.