Arroyo Students Remember Kobe and Gianna Bryant


Alicia Naranjo-Champion, News Editor

Two days after their memorial service at the Staples Center, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant, lost in a helicopter crash on January 26th, were remembered by Arroyo students at Rally Square. 

Music played as students wrote messages on the jersey shaped posters ASB had cut out. Some of the messages for Gianna and Kobe read “RIP Beautiful” and “fly high.”

There was a fun vibe to the event. Gold, purple, and white balloons floated over the stage at the Square, and a black banner read in cursive white writing “In Loving Memory”. Some students shot some hoops in front of the Round Table Room, while others took pictures in front of a black fabric backdrop decorated with Lakers colored balloons and a gold #2 for Gianna and #24 for Kobe. It was a celebration of their lives. 

Drafted by the NBA from high school, Kobe Bryant was a 5 time NBA Champion, 17 time NBA All-Star, 2 time Olympic gold medalist, and 1997 Slam Dunk Champion (to name a few accomplishments). The famed basketball player’s athleticism inspired people around the world. 

“Kobe Bryant had a great work ethic that no one else could’ve compared to. He inspired many to be competitive and put in the utmost love and passion into what they do, even if it wasn’t playing basketball ” said Angie Sy, 12, a varsity basketball player. 

But Kobe Bryant was more than a great basketball player, he was also an Oscar winner, an author, a big supporter of women’s sports in general, and a family man. In her speech at the Staples Center memorial, his wife Vanessa Bryant said “Kobe was the MVP of girl dads — or MVD.” The couple shared four daughters ages 8 months to 17 years old. 

Gianna Bryant, their second daughter aged 13 at the time of the crash, shared her father’s love of basketball. “Her skill was undeniable at an early age,” WNBA star Diana Taurasi said at the Staples Center memorial. Kobe once told Elle Duncan from ESPN that Gianna “is a beast. She’s better than I was at her age. She’s got it.”

According to Business Insider, Kobe Bryant gave himself the nickname “Black Mamba” to separate his professional life from his personal life. But the term Mamba came to mean much more. 

In his book The Mamba Mentality, Kobe wrote,“From the beginning, I wanted to be the best. I had a constant craving, a yearning, to improve and be the best. I never needed any external forces to motivate me.”

“Mamba mentality is something that sticks in my head for whatever sport I’m doing. It influences me to always keep working hard and never give up even when it gets a little difficult” explained Sy.

“I believe [Kobe and Gianna’s] legacy will [inspire] others to follow their heart and dreams and [make] sure no matter what happens, always keep going forward and [strive] for those set goals,” said Sy.