by Rachel Garvey
A threat of World War III, a continent suffering from bushfires and a virus spreading itself throughout Hubei’s province. 2020 could not have been off to a more devastating start. Then, a new headline emerged and it was a headline that would shock audiences from all over. On January 26th 2020, star basketball player, Kobe Bryant, and his teenage daughter of thirteen years old, Gianna Bryant, tragically died in a helicopter crash. I usually don’t follow sports, but it was through a friend I first heard it. It was heart-breaking to hear how he looked up to Kobe and how the news devastated him, as it would for thousands of fans around the world, as well, of course, as his life–long friends that played alongside him during many basketball games and, most importantly, his family.
Tragedies like this don’t just affect those close but can have an impact on people worldwide. News articles and headlines and playbacks from Kobe’s basketball games flooded the online world, as online users reminisced about their favourite things about him and his best moments during games. However, as tragic as it was for a father and daughter to die together in a tragic accident, we can’t forget about the other members on board the helicopter, and it only seems to be Kobe we are hearing about. I really don’t want to offend anyone by saying that, but it is quite possible to remember and grieve over them all. There were nine passengers altogether on board, two of which were Kobe and Gianna, as well as fourteen-year-old Alyssa Altobelli, Keri and John Altobelli, thirteen-year-old Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan.
They should all be remembered, but it just so happens that one of the most iconic basketball players of all time was one of the deceased with his young daughter, and it’s that unfortunate event that shocked millions worldwide, but we need to remember that every life needs to be treated the same. It’s the sad reality of today’s world where, if a celebrity dies in an accident, the whole online world erupts over it, but what is mentioned of the unfortunate people who were killed alongside the celebrity? Do we ever hear anything about them? The answer, truthfully, is no. That needs to change, but when?
In March 2010, Los Angeles Lakers played against Orlando with Orlando’s Matt Barnes making an inbound pass at Kobe in an attempt to make him flinch. However, he didn’t flinch, and we see in that example how strong-willed Kobe was. He didn’t flinch back in fear or alarm and he stood his ground tall and full of pride. We see, in this example, our idol, who many people have looked up to for many long years, who many people have strived to be like. He was a credit to the world of basketball and to the world itself. In his final moments, he wasn’t just a star basketball player, he was a Dad, a friend, just a person, the same as those other passengers. None of them was better than the other, they were all equal in their own eyes and I’m sure Kobe knew that too, so why don’t we lead by his example and remember them all equally, not just one or two? If Kobe was still alive today and witnessed how unfair all of this was, he would definitely flinch from this unfairness.
There was a cartoon which graced the internet with its presence recently, a cartoon of Kobe and Gianna, their backs turned to us and their arms around each other, with Gianna asking “Where to next, Dad?”, and Kobe responding “I don’t know, but we’ll do it together!”. They all did it together, may they all rest in peace.