Basketball fans and players in Kitchener and beyond are mourning the loss of retired L.A. Laker Kobe Byrant who perished in a helicopter crash.
Bryant is survived by his wife of nearly 20 years, Vanessa, and their three remaining daughters. Their youngest daughter is just 7-months-old. Bryant was only 41 years old.
Bryant’s left a legacy in his basketball career with five championships, four All-Star Game MVP Awards, two NBA Finals MVP Awards and a single regular-season MVP Award. Bryant also has an Oscar award under his belt.
Erin Ackersvillers, a coordinator with the KW Titans, said Bryant’s death has affected everyone, whether they play basketball or not.
“Every single person in the basketball community, worldwide, is feeling this heartbreak – not just for the loss of one of the greatest in basketball history, but even deeper for the loss of the potential for all of the great things that were still ahead of him, and his daughter Gianna,” she said via Facebook. “I think that’s really why this hits so hard. He was an inspiration for many, he was one of the great ones, and it just doesn’t seem fair.”
The KW Titans did not respond for a comment but they did leave a heartfelt message for Kobe on their Twitter account: “Our hearts break with the news of #Kobebryant & daughter Gianna. The Titan family sends our condolences and love to the Bryant family and all the others who lost their lives in the helicopter accident. The legend will always live on. Two beautiful souls gone too soon.”
Joe Brito of Kitchener does personal care for adults and seniors including the KW Titans. Brito is passionate about basketball and athletes and shared a message about Bryant to Spoke via his Twitter account, @truckerjoe51.
Cliff Clinkscales currently plays for the Halifax Hurricanes in the NBL Canada league and couldn’t believe the news. “I was a Laker fan just because of Kobe Bryant. I love his approach to the game of basketball all work no bull. He was just getting started, what he was doing off the court after his career by touching so many people. Everything he did, he just wanted to be the best.”
In the aftermath of Bryant’s death, his wife Vanessa was not speaking publicly until she shared a family photo on social media.
Details surrounding the crash are still being released to the public.