Remembering a legend, his daughter, and their friends

As a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, I mourn the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and the other seven precious souls on the ill-fated helicopter crash. At 41 years old, The Black Mamba was not only Gianna’s basketball coach, but more importantly, her loving father.

“Being a father is the thing I am most proud of in this world; it’s my greatest accomplishment,” Bryant told Maria Shriver’s “Sunday Paper” back in November. “I’ve learned so much, but perhaps the most profound thing has been the fierce, unconditional love you have for your children when you become a parent. I’m blessed to have had that experience four times now and there’s nothing more powerful in this world.”

That resonates with every parent. No matter what team you cheer for, Kobe Bryant was a steely competitor who developed his skills to the top of his profession. He was an A-list legend. Nothing but respect and Laker Love for #24. RIP.

At the same time, each precious soul on that helicopter deserves to be remembered for their own unique life and gifts, outside anyone else’s shadow. Everyone on board was a life-lover — whether a parent or child. We remember John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and Ara Zobayan.

Words can never express proper sadness for a loss so great to their loved ones.

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