Kobe Bryant’s Death Has Fans Mourning A Huge Loss: From Bad Bunny To Ricky Martin, Here’s How Latinos Are Reacting
The news sent shockwaves around the world when it was announced that a basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, died on Sunday in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles.
Kobe Bryant, a legendary shooting guard for the LA Lakers was just 41 years old and was one of nine victims to have died in the accident. His death has brought together people from a diverse range of backgrounds, but it’s especially painful for Latinos, who were among the first to embrace the Black Mamba and with whom Kobe had a major impact as a member of the Lakers. Fans around the world are left mourning a basketball legend and processing his complicated legacy.
Death of the 41-year-old basketball legend shook communities around the world.
News broke on Sunday that the 41-year-old had died, along with nine others, in a tragic helicopter crash in the hills outside of Los Angeles. The identity of all aboard are still undisclosed at this time, pending further investigation and conversation with next of kin, according to an LA County Sheriff at a press briefing earlier today.
Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa Bryant, and three other daughters – Natalia Diamante, Bianka Bella and Capri Kobe, who is only 7 months old.
While it was unclear who else was with Bryant at the time of his death, TMZ Sports confirmed that his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria Onore, was one of the passengers who died in the accident. Gianna and Kobe were on their way to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks.
Preliminary investigations report that the helicopter went down in dense fog that had grounded most other aircraft in the region.
Bryant was known to use his helicopter to commute between his home in Newport Beach and the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles. However, for this journey, he was commuting to a sports academy in the Valley.
Los Angeles is known for dense fog and this Sunday morning was no different. In fact, the dense fog had led to the temporary suspension of flights from LAX and most other civilian helicopter operations.
As news of the star’s death spread, so too did the heartfelt messages of loss and grief.
“[This] is why I don’t wait for tomorrow,” J Balvin wrote. “So many surprises in life that the present escapes us.” Dozens of others weighed in as well.
AOC sent her condolences to the victims and their families in a tweet saying: “Deeply shocked at the news of Kobe Bryant and four others lost today. Sending all my thoughts to their families and loved ones in this devastating moment.“
Bad Bunny had a special message about the super star’s untimely passing.
“I never would have imagined this would hurt so much!” he said. “I still remember the first time I saw a game of basketball at 7 years old with my dad, and it was a game with this genius, and from that day forward he became my favorite player x100pre!! I’ve never mentioned it because it doesn’t necessarily have to do with music, but this man has been an inspiration in many aspects for me to be who I am today. RIP GOAT!!! Rest in PEACE!!!! Thank you for inspiring me so much!! Thanks for so many emotions!!! How sad I feel!!! A legend is gone!! Along with a beautiful child and basketball promise, Gianna… It breaks my soul too know that I was going to meet, and share time, with you soon…”
And Anuel AA shared his take on the tragedy, one that many people could relate to.
“Wow, my hero died,” he said. “This is unbelievable. I’m here crying as if I knew him, heartbroken. Rest in peace, legend, you left a mark on the world. May God continue blessing his family and fill them with strength. Wow what sadness. [Kobe Bryant] your name will live forever.”
Kobe Bryant shared a special kinship with his Latino fans, who he said were the first to embrace him.
As the tributes pour in, many are remembering the impact Kobe had on LA’s Latino community.
A few years ago, he thanked the Latino community for their support.
“Latino fans are important to me, because when I arrived [in Los Angeles] they were the fans who most passionately embraced me,” he said. Bryant added that his Spanish was “not that good,” but this appeared to have been a modest assessment, as he routinely conducted full-length interviews in Spanish, which endeared him even more to Latino fans. He said that he was inspired to learn the language because of his wife and because his Latino fans “mean everything” to him. He told Univision in a separate interview that he learned Spanish through watching telenovelas with his family.
However, Bryant’s story wasn’t one without its blemishes. He was accused of sexual assault in 2003.
Bryant’s sexual assault case was another scandal that rocked the sport’s world and his own image. The charges brought against him were serious. He was accused of raping a hotel employee while at a Colorado resort – a claim that he denied saying the sexual encounter was consensual. The case was eventually settled out of court, according to The Guardian.
As much of the world is still in shock regarding the untimely loss of such an iconic man, his success as a basketball great will live on.