Tuesday, January 26 will mark the one year anniversary of the tragic helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and nine others in Los Angeles. It was a day few will ever forget, from the initial shock and disbelief to the tributes and stories that poured out in the days the followed.
Bryant’s death sent shockwaves around the NBA world, as this current generation of players are the ones who were inspired by him as kids and grew up wanting to follow in his footsteps — with some getting the chance to face off with their idol in his later years on the court. Countless players remembered Bryant by recalling bits of advice he’d given them or how he was part of their biggest “welcome to the NBA” moments, a fierce competitor on the court but also a mentor willing to pass his wealth of knowledge off to the next generation.
Kyrie Irving was among those who idolized Kobe growing up and would go on to become friends with Bryant once in the league. Last January, Irving spoke about his connection with Kobe days after his death, and with the Nets off on Tuesday, he paid tribute to his late friend by donning a Kobe jersey as he headed into the arena.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 25, 2021
It is the first of what will surely be numerous Bryant tributes that we’ll see in coming days from those in the NBA, as his death is still fresh in the minds of so many and his influence on the current NBA landscape is so immense.