An 18-time All-Star with five NBA championships under his belt, Kobe Byrant seemed unstoppable throughout his professional career and that’s why his tragic death along with his daughter, Gianna Bryant and six other occupants in the 2020 Calabasas helicopter crash was so shocking. For such an icon and hero to many to cross the Jordan so early in his life would shake anyone to their core, especially when they’re such a prevalent figure in society. I am sure that many people had questions to ask the sporting legend before his death, but really the only question left to answer is that of "What is Kobe Bryant’s Legacy?"

During an interview with Whitgift School’s Basketball Coach, Junior Clarke, he expressed his views on Kobe’s legacy and how it will live on. He said that “the future of basketball will keep coming and everyone will still be talking about Kobe” which just shows how the immense impact Kobe had on basketball today will create a ripple effect far beyond present day basketball. This idea of a legacy is amplified by two anonymous, aspiring basketball players at Whitgift School. One of which called Kobe “a complete inspiration to the entire game” whilst the other said that “Kobe will be remembered as one of the leaders of his generation and someone who proved hard work can do anything in basketball.” He then concluded his statement by saying that “trials and tribulations are just part of the sport and getting over them is just what makes you great just like Kobe did on numerous occasions throughout his career.”

When discussing the matter of Kobe’s death in the 2020 Calabasas helicopter crash, my three interviewees all had very similar reactions which all transpired with an abrupt feeling of shock. One of the basketball players pointed out that “it wasn’t his time as he was only forty” whereas the other called it a “major loss” whilst still having an optimistic take on the tragedy, saying that he felt “a sense of joy that Kobe lived a good life and accomplished many of the things that he wanted to accomplish.”

After inquiring on their reactions to Kobe’s death, I then asked them a more existential question about whether or not his death made them think about how life can be taken from them so suddenly. All three agreed on the query with the coach even mentioning his multiple friends that had “passed away on the court.” The first basketball player spoke about the unexpectedness of his death and stated that “he was such a huge positive influence on everyone’s lives and he was just gone, one Sunday afternoon” which was then backed up by the second player who mentioned that he thought “Kobe would be one of the ones who would be around forever.” He then elaborated by saying that he had “always dreamed of him being a mentor to me, and to not have that opportunity was obviously quite saddening.”

Whilst talking about Kobe’s life in the public eye and his influence on society, Mr Clarke stated that “he was so influential because he wanted to be known by everybody. He worked so hard on and off the court just so he could be the best.” He then further stated that “everybody use to talk about Michael Jordan and he wanted to be as good as Jordan so he would work really hard in training. The harder work you put in, the more you’ll get out of it.” This idea of Kobe’s immense work ethic is magnified by one of the basketball players who stated that “his work ethic inspired a lot of young people who are now starting to get into the NBA and make their own legacies, so I think his death will drive them even further.” He then develops his point on a more personal note – “I know it has for me and I think he was so influential because people saw the humanity in him. He wasn’t seen as a godly figure. He was seen as a normal person who did what he could to get better every single day of his life and just showing that through different interviews and motivation speakers and even winning an Oscar for the short film ‘Dear Basketball.’”