KOBE Bryant remains fresh in the minds of many who still feel his presence even after his passing last year.
Kobe Bryant wasn’t in the bubble with the Los Angeles Lakers last October when they won the NBA championship. He wasn’t at the All-Star weekend in Chicago where half the players wore his number on their uniforms, the other half wearing his daughter’s jersey number.
He wasn’t there to hear the Basketball Hall of Fame announced that his career was worthy of enshrinement.
Yet his presence was still felt in each of those moments.
“Everything stopped,” Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
“The music stopped. The players stopped. Nobody said a word. A lot of guys dropped to the floor and started crying. Nothing happened for 10 minutes. We all just sat there in silence. It was one of the worst moments of all our lives.”
“Jarron Collins came over to me and whispered the news in my ear. I think it was the same thing where a couple people on our staff whispered it to a couple players on our team. We were all like a deer in the headlights, you know? We just froze and all tried to absorb the news and everything stopped.”
Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the other seven people who climbed aboard a helicopter in southern California have been gone for exactly one year now.
The Lakers, however, are not planning any formal marking of the day, nor is the NBA.
It is not a day for celebration. It is a day for remembrance, not that it’s needed.
Bryant’s legacy lives on. He won’t be forgotten. Nor will 26 January 2020.
“I don’t think any of us will ever forget that day,” Kerr said.