Former NBA legend Kobe Bean Bryant has been an inspiration to his community and people around the world. On January 26, 2020, Bryant died in a helicopter crash at the age of 41 along with his daughter Gianna Bryant (13 years old) and 7 others.
Around the world, people were in shock when they heard the news. Bryant was everywhere in our lives, he didn’t just impact basketball, he impacted the world. Whether it was an advertisement with him, an action his charity took, or kids shouting “Kobe” before throwing a balled-up piece of paper in a trashcan, Bryant’s influence was all around us, and he was a part of almost every athlete’s life. Bryant was more than a player. He was an inspiration, an icon and a legend, on and off the court.
The Jeffersonville High School Student Section decided to honor Bryant at the Homecoming game on Friday, January 31. Student Section leader and Senior Adam Crawford said he came up with the idea to change the theme to purple and yellow (the colors of the Lakers’ jersey). Crawford said he was inspired to change the theme because Bryant “was someone who didn’t just inspire basketball players, but he inspired the whole world.”
Trae Young, a 2nd year player who just earned his first all-star game appearance, wore the number 8 during his game. At the start of the game the Hawks won the tipoff and Trae Young held the ball not passing half court to take an 8-second violation in honor of his mentor. Young continued to put on an explosive performance with 45 points and 14 assists in a 19-point win over the Washington Wizards. Young continued to post on Instagram later that night a picture of him taking the violation with Kobe’s number with a caption of, “That one was for you… Rest Easy Kobe.”
The New Orleans Pelicans players wore Kobe Bryant’s shoes during the National Anthem before switching into their own preferred shoes with the numbers 24 and 8 written on them for the game. Another team who paid homage to Bryant was the Detroit Pistons by wearing 8 and 24 jerseys with Bryant on the back during the national anthem.
Some NBA players wearing the number 8 or 24 such as Spencer Dinwiddie decided to change his number from 8 to 26 out of respect for Bryant. Since then many other players wearing numbers 8 or 24 have done the same. He was everywhere, from giving players advice, to coaches quoting him to inspire their players before a game, to teachers using a Kobe video to get their students motivated to commercials using Kobe to advertise their product.