Kobe Bryant is and was an influential African American in everyday society. Kobe was looked up to as a superhero for many children, but for adults he was a superstar. Kobe was a philanthropist, donating to a number of charities and organizations to help those in need. Unlike a large amount of wealthy people who obtain fame and success, Kobe gave back to the community. That is just on characteristic that makes Bryant different from others, the other is how he came to fame. Kobe Bryant was born in Philadelphia, PA on August 23, 1978. Kobe was the youngest of three children, his father retired from the NBA when he was at the age of six. After his retirement, Kobe’s father Joe Bryant relocated to Italy, this is where Kobe learned Italian. During his summers, Kobe traveled back to the United States to play basketball. This was a passion which had been passed down from father to son since when he started, at the age of three.
Some early accolades from Kobe’s basketball Career was when he earned Pennsylvania player of the year honor in his junior year. This player of the year award brought many college recruiters to him and thus opened doors for Kobe’s basketball future. When Kobe started playing for the Lakers, he “carried” the team out of a consecutive 53 year drought to win a state championship, while still in his senior year. In 1996, Kobe Bryant was the thirteenth draft pick of the first round, singing a 3.5 million dollar contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe performed an amazing first year season, earning his place on the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. While he entered his second year playing for the Lakers, Kobe was given the title of the youngest NBA All-Star Starter in the history of the NBA. After all of his accomplishments and hard work, Kobe followed up with signing a seven year deal with the Lakers for 60 million dollars. Kobe eventually helped the Los Angeles Lakers win three consecutive championships, which was a huge deal.
Kobe Bryant met his wife, Vanessa Lainein, in November of 1999. After their marriage in 2001 and a few happy years later they had their first child. On January 19, 2003, Natalia Bryant was born. Later on Gianna Bryant was born on May 1, 2006 , who was referred to as “Gigi”. Kobe also has two other daughters, both very young named Bianka and Capri Bryant.
In June of 2003, news was released about Kobe that shocked millions of people. Kobe Bryant had been arrested for sexual assault and thus caused him to miss several games. On June 30, 2003, in a hotel room at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera in Colorado, Kobe Bryant was accused of raping the hotels front clerk. She was said to have showed him around the hotel and his room, then later going back to Kobe’s room where the alleged rape took place. Kobe was 24 years old when this happened and was charged with one count of felony assault. Kobe Bryant’s case took fourteen months to be resolved and it was dropped when the accuser decided she would not testify. This trial put a large smear on Kobe’s reputation and caused a lot of opinions to change about the type of person he is thought to be.
Although Kobe had many nonprofit organizations he supported, The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family foundation was one of Kobe’s greatest charity works. The foundation was founded to improve the quality of lives for young people and their families. The foundation provides scholarships to young athletes and teaches them the responsibilities of becoming young leaders. The foundation also teaches the children how to be independent thinkers through their sports and to pave the right path for their lives. After the death of Kobe, and his daughter Gianna Bryant, Vanessa Bryant changed the name of their non-profit organization to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation. Kobe was also an honorary ambassador of After School All Stars, which is a nonprofit organization that teams up with schools to extend hours for low income children.
When Kobe was in Orlando he spoke to boys and girls who are involved in the “After School Stars” Program. The kids stated that the words spoken to them will forever be remembered and that moment had made such a large impact for them. It is seen that much of Kobe’s time is spend at charity events, helping others and with his family, which he even has gotten involved. Another foundation Kobe supported was the Make A Wish foundation. Kobe helped grant over 250 wishes to children battling life threatening illnesses over the last 20 years. Stand up to Cancer was another organization Kobe supported and raised money for. The need for social justice made a big impact on Kobe’s life, he has taken a large role for change and social justice by being vocal about his views. After the death of Eric Garner, he convinced his fellow teammates to wear “ I can’t breathe shirts” to raise support for injustice.
This action shows the type of person Bryant was, he was a leader who fought for justice and what is right. Kobe was not afraid to stand up or to stand out, often leading by example. Kobe Bryant and his wife also donated one million dollars to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This is considered one of the museums founding donations, Kobe has even tweeted that “There is no greater testament to this country than the stories in this building.”
Kobe Bryant, as well as nine others died on January 26, 2020 in Calabasas California due to a helicopter crash. One of the deaths included Kobe’s daughter Gianna Bryant. The helicopter was on its way to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball game. The helicopter was set to take off from John Wayne Airport, which the pilot requested a special visual flight rule needed to be authorized by an air traffic controller. This Special visual flight rule is needed to allow an aircraft to fly in a controlled airspace at less than the basic visual flight rule. This rule included a minimum flight ceiling of 1,000 feet and three miles of visuality, which the helicopter went south and west at 1,400 feet. The helicopter had requested “flight” which is essentially ongoing surveillance information to assist from air traffic control to help with situational awareness during low visibility situations. The helicopter then climbed to 2,300 feet and began to turn left to which the radar signal lost contact after 9:45 a.m. After this, it is said that the helicopter had crashed into a mountain, then combusted leading to it being engulfed in flames.
While Kobe was alive he helped out and taught people who were struggling and needed to find their way. This is what a true influential person does. Kobe was an influential African American in the community because of his selflessness when he had everything. Kobe’s net worth was about 500 million dollars. He has done huge endorsement deals with Nike and many other companies. In the end though, Kobe remembered that he needed to be supported of the community around him. Kobe Bryant was known to stop to talk to fans or listen to their questions when he was asked.
A lot of sports players of successful people cant bring themselves to converse with someone who they make think is on a lower social class than them. If those celebrities do end up having a conversation or giving high fives, it seems like it pains them deeply to do that. Kobe had worked a hard 20 seasons playing basketball to win his five championship rings. Besides being this idol to most people, he was a friend and dad. Bryant was an active coach of his daughters “Lady Mambas Basketball team.” He often showed up to help Gianna and all the other children work on their skills, teaching a don’t give up mentality. The impact of Kobe’s death is everywhere, people are still not ready to heal and accept the fact that he does not walk among us anymore. Communities did all that they could to commemorate Kobe, large gestures, personal gestures and helping one another. Kobe’s passion was seen on the court and off of it when coaching.
The story of Kobe Bryant is a very unique one because of the plethora of people who aspire to be like him. It is a tragic story because Kobe had a lot more to give to the world, he died at the age of 41. Kobe was young and everyone was robbed of time with him, especially his family. This creates wonders as to what could’ve happened if he was still here to help make a difference. The work in the community Bryant helped with and facilitated will leave an everlasting impact on society that will not be forgotten. His death will be mourned for as long as we can remember, Kobe will forever be in our memories.