People across the world are mourning the shocking death of Kobe Bryant. On Sunday, January 26, 2020 the retired LA Lakers basketball legend, his daughter Gianna and seven others perished in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The tragedy has shaken the sports world and left people everywhere stunned and grieving. Bryant’s storied career–a gifted player who jumped to the pros from high school–was just beginning. The 41-year-old athlete retired from the game in 2016 and went on to do more in four years than several people combined. Black Mamba and his “Mamba Mentality” let him transform into an entrepreneur, writer, and philanthropist. Aside from his 5 NBA Championship rings, he had recently won an Oscar. Most importantly, he was a family man, a proud “girl dad”, and husband to his wife Vanessa.
His connection to the Latino community was a special one. “My Latino fans are very important to me because they were the first ones who embraced me the most when I first got here,” Kobe Bryant said in Spanish in 2016. The outpouring of love and respect for Black Mamba and his daughter Mambacita, as they were known, can be found everywhere from outdoor murals to makeshift memorials. Here are some of the moving tributes we have found Latinos sharing off and online.
The Brazilian soccer star who plays forward for Paris St.Germain played against Lille the day news broke of Kobe’s loss. After scoring a goal, he took a moment to share with cameras and fans exactly who and what was on his mind.
The reggeatonero released the song, “6 Rings,” a tribute thanking the baller for his impact on his life. One of the lyrics states, “[You showed me] everything in life needs passion and has to be done with conviction, mistakes make you stronger.” It opens with a sports announcer detailing a Bryant game and ends with Kobe’s voice at his retirement. The title refers to his five NBA rings and his marriage to Vanessa Bryant. He also mentions the loss of Gianna had him wild but said, “it’s so you won’t play ball alone in heaven.”
The poet. playwriter and TV writer of She’s gotta Have It, posted an original piece, “A Farewell Poem for Kobe Bryant” a moving tome that only a true basketball fan could share.
Read the whole poem here.
The former Yankees baseball player was an athletic contemporary to Bryant. He shared a commentary with private photos on his Instagram account about the passing of his friend.
“We met as teenagers…followed similar paths. We went from high school to the pros and our baby girls grew up together. People don’t know this, but he was my secret coach. He pushed me and motivated me, especially toward the end of my career when I needed him most. He was always there.”
Mariachis Play A Tribute Outside Staples Center
Singers and musicians from across Los Angeles gathered outside the LA Staples Center to play and sing the song, “Amor Eterno” in honor of the Bryants as thousands gathered to listen and watch. The bolero by Mexican crooner Juan Gabriel is a moving farewell often sang at funerals. Lyrics such as, “How I wish you were still alive, that your little eyes never closed to look at you. Eternal and unforgettable love.