The January 2020 tragic accident that took the life of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others, not only shook the city but the entire sports industry and world.
Countless candlelight vigils and murals went up in Bryant’s memory, and the L.A. Dodgers were among the teams to honor him. They held a pregame ceremony last August to remember Kobe, Gianna and those whose lives were lost, which included dressing in Nos. 8 and 24 Lakers jerseys.
Bryant’s memory has hardly faded over the past year-plus, but he again is in the spotlight with the NBA Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday. “He’s a legend, an icon,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“I think obviously what he did on the basketball court speaks for itself, but I think when you’re talking about legacy, there’s a lot of things and a lot of people he impacted off the court.
“Obviously we’re still talking about it and him, how he impacted not only the sport of basketball, but all sports and people. It’s obviously sad his time had come then, but it’s good to see people are still breathing life into his legacy.”
When addressing the team for the first time in Spring Training last year, Roberts mentioned one of Bryant’s famous quotes about enjoying the process of trying to win a championship rather solely focusing on the accomplishment.
It was a message Clayton Kershaw revealed he leaned on when looking to overcome postseason shortcomings.
Turner remembers Kobe
One day after the horrific accident, Justin and Kourtney Turner were scheduled to host their fifth annual Justin Turner Golf Classic, which was being held at Sherwood Country Club, only a few miles from the site.
The Turners elected to move forward with their event, and it marked the beginning of several Dodgers sharing how they identified with Bryant as well. “I think the hard part for everyone is he grew up in the living room with you,” Turner said that day.
“Watching him play for so many years, my generation, when you think sports in L.A., Kobe is the top of the top. Just really feeling for his family — Vanessa and the girls. It’s difficult to even wrap your head around. As much as he’s done on the court, the things he was doing and getting involved in after his career, are remarkable.
“You don’t find superstars of his caliber continue to be that influential in a community and for the game of basketball, especially fo women’s basketball. He’s a guy I always looked up to. Every time I had a water bottle or piece of trash or picking up balls in the cage, you grab it and shoot it towards the trash can or ball basket and yell, ‘Kobe!’
“I’m just glad I got to grow up watching him and seeing everything he did and how amazing of a man he was. It’s pretty special.”
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