On Wednesday, the 2nd anniversary of the tragic helicopter crash that stole the lives of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others, fans, friends, and former teammates of the five-time NBA champion took to social media and other platforms to honor his memory.
In speaking to CBSLA, Jordan Farmar, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2006, fondly remembers the softer side of the notoriously fierce competitor.
“When my oldest daughter was born, and I have a picture which we framed of him, and have in the house, of him holding her and giving her a kiss on the cheek,” he told CBSLA. “Just how much he transitioned to being the ultra-fierce competitor to this soft, healthy, worldly guy. And I think his kids and his girls softened him up and made him that way.”
Jerry West, who served as the Lakers long-time general manager after retiring as a player from the team in 1974, believes Kobe had far more to offer the world off the court than he ever did on it.
“It’s really interesting because he didn’t have a full life,” he told the New York Times. “I saw him become a great father. Used to see him, in particular after he retired—he and his daughter [Gianna], who were both killed in that tragic helicopter crash. I just saw this enormous love and respect for this little girl. She was kind of the apple of his eye.
“He was just one of those unique players that come along. He had a big personality. He was very bright. He was going to be a bigger success off the court than on the court. He was taken away too young.”
Elsewhere, Brazilian soccer player Neymar honored Kobe in his own unique way after taking the field: By flashing No. 24 with his hands in tribute.
On Twitter, future Hall of Famer Vince Carter admitted that it was difficult to celebrate his birthday when it falls on the same day that “the world lost a great human being.”
“I’m thankful to see another year of life but it’s really tough to celebrate when the world lost a great human being on this same day,” he tweeted. “Rest well Kobe the world is truly missing a great one. So on this day I celebrate you & I say thank you for the battles & the friendship.#8/24"
While other tributes poured in from Chance the Rapper, Dr. Dre, and his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rest in power to one of the greatest athletes in the history of professional sports.