Kobe and Gigi – gone too soon

30 January 2020
Author   Staff Writer

Kobe and Gigi – gone too soon

Namibia and the whole world was in shock after hearing the sad news that National Basketball Association (NBA) icon Kobe Bryant (41) and his daughter Gianna Bryant (13) along with seven other wonderful people beloved by their families, had died.  Kobe, his daughter and the others met their tragic fate on Sunday, January 26, in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The exact cause of the crash is still under investigation.
In the wake of the horrific event on Sunday that killed the legendary Kobe Bryant and eight others, normal operations have been pretty much suspended for anyone who has anything to do with the NBA. People all over the world who knew very little about basketball, had heard something about someone named ‘Kobe Bryant’ and expressed sadness over his untimely death. 
Bryant had worldwide sports legend stature and was a once in a lifetime talent. The über millionaire sports king was one of the giants of the game, an immense figure globally, revered by the overwhelming majority of current NBA players and many against whom he played in the Olympics and other international exhibition games.  And now, he has been incomprehensibly struck down at the young age of 41. Grief like this will not fade quickly.
It is doubly true in this case because Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna (Gigi) was on that helicopter with him along with several other young people who were members of another family that is now reeling from the tragedy.
Notably, young Gianna Bryant was beloved by members of the University of Connecticut (UConn) women’s basketball program.  She had dreamed of joining that team someday.  Gianna received a moving tribute from the team on Monday when it placed flowers and a UConn jersey on the bench for an exhibition game against the United States women’s national team.
“Mambacita is forever a Husky,” the school posted on Twitter, referring to the nickname that Kobe Bryant, the self-styled “Black Mamba,” had given the second-born of his four daughters.
Giann’s zest for her father’s game of basketball was evident in a 2019 glimpse of Gianna on camera with the Las Vegas CBS affiliate during a trip to watch that season’s opener for the Women NBA’s Las Vegas Aces. Explaining her fascination with sports film study, Gigi sounded like her father when she said, “More information, more inspiration.”
As an interesting local sidebar to this international story of a tragic loss, there are many Namibians fussing on social media about how “we mourn a basketball player who we barely knew but are overlooking the cruel happenings in our country like the 10 year-old girl whose body was found burned in a dumpster or two children who drowned at a local swimming pool recently. 
Other Namibians on social media refute those who say that the loss of Kobe Bryant is sad, but unconnected to what is happening here, have responded that those upset over the loss in California are not overlooking one thing or the other. 
They state online that, “We can’t weigh the intensity of the situations and decide for others what to grieve about. People are not mourning Kobe and Gigi and the other family lost in that crash because they knew them personally. They are mourning to celebrate their legacy and how they were truly passionate about what they did. They are mourning because the only person Kobe trusted to carry on his legacy, Gigi died at a painfully young age alongside him. They are respecting the loss of life, talent and the wound to loving families.  That is very Namibian indeed.” 
Article written using excerpts from newyorktimes.com - Ed

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The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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