Illustration by Jen Kelly

HSU Students Remember a Legend

Losing a legend leaves a lasting impact on fans
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The loss of a legend leaves impact on fans and HSU students

NBA legend Kobe Bryant died last Sunday in a helicopter crash at the age of 41, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others.

Humboldt State University’s Alexia Thrower, a star player on HSU’s women’s basketball team who leads her team and conference in scoring and rebounding, admired Bryant not only for his mentality and approach to the game, but also the advocacy he had toward women’s basketball.

“I loved the way Kobe played,” Thrower said. “He was always in attack mode, regardless of if he missed shots or made mistakes his foot was always on the pedal and that’s how I play. He had four daughters and Gigi was a baller so he had a real passion for women’s basketball and really respected us as basketball players too, and that means everything coming from one of the greatest basketball players ever.”

There’s a saying in the world of sports: “Heroes come and go, but legends never die.” This saying was challenged in the early morning hours of Jan. 26 when Bryant died. His death sent shockwaves around the world, and athletes and celebrities mourned him on social media.

Longtime teammate, fellow NBA legend and self-proclaimed big brother Shaquille O’Neal was one of many left heartbroken. O’Neal took to Twitter to speak about Bryant’s death.

“There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through with the tragedy of losing my niece Gigi and my brother Kobe, you will be loved and missed,” O’Neal said. “My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. I’M SICK RIGHT NOW.”

Bryant was a 20-year NBA veteran who played entirely with the Los Angeles Lakers. Over the course of his career he became a five-time NBA champion, 18-time All-Star, league MVP, two-time Finals MVP and finished his career ranking third all-time on the NBA’s scoring list. By the end of his career, he was widely considered one of the greatest players to ever set foot in the NBA.

Bryant influenced generations of future basketball players, including boys, girls and student athletes like HSU freshman Isaiah Sampson, who plays on the men’s basketball team. Sampson viewed Bryant as a role model.

“The way he worked inspired me and helped me change my whole mindset to achieve my goals. He was a role model for me,” Sampson said. “Everyone has their time, but you hate to see someone with his impact go so soon and tragically.”

Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa Bryant and three daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri.

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