Growing up as Hip Hop influenced kids, wearing US National Baskeball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL) branded jersey or literally dressing as a basketball player was not a rare site in the late 90s and early 2000s. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson jerseys were everywhere in music videos, magazine ads hence their influence on lifestyle, culture and fashion.
Drafted from high school at the age of 17 years, Kobe played for Los Angeles Lakers throughout his 20 year career winning 5 championships, 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and 2 Olympic gold medals among other achievements.
Sadly, its now safe to declare Basketball Jersey number 24 officially retired on all courts across the globe.
The tragic death of Kobe Bryant known among his peers as Black Mamba has not only shocked the world but also overshadowed this year’s biggest awards in music, the 62nd Grammy’s.
Kobe, 41, died along with eight others including his 13 year old daughter, Gianna in a helicopter crash hours before the Grammys which coincidentally took place at Staples Center, Los Angeles.
Before everyone took turns paying tribute to the fallen legend, Alicia Keys, the host described the venue as “a house that Kobe built”. Staples Center is home for LA Lakers and its where Kobe built his career. Alicia further sung a tribute with the legendary Boyz II Men.
It was a night that proved music heals and unites people in times of joy and sadness. Kobe Bryant tributes dominated the whole show contrary to people’s expectations. Tweets popped up from left, right and center as condolence messages shut down the internet.
Despite the sombre mood, it was a glorious night for 18 year old Billie Eilish who emerged the biggest winner bagging best new artist, album, song and record of the year gongs. The youngest star to ever reach this milestone.
On and off the court, Kobe was in many ways, bigger than basketball. His Dear Basketball animated short movie based on a letter written on November 29, 2015 announcing his retirement from basketball won both a Oscar and an Emmy.
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