Mustangs Pay Tribute to Kobe Bryant

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Mustangs Pay Tribute to Kobe Bryant

The Mustangs crowd wore their gold and purple clothing while cheering for the boys' basketball team.

The Mustangs crowd wore their gold and purple clothing while cheering for the boys' basketball team.

The Mustangs crowd wore their gold and purple clothing while cheering for the boys' basketball team.

The Mustangs crowd wore their gold and purple clothing while cheering for the boys' basketball team.

Ashlyn Thomson, Copy Editor

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The sports world was in complete awe after the astonishing news of the death of NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, on January 26th. Bryant and his daughter were on board a helicopter on their way to a club basketball game for Gianna. The helicopter slowly began lowering in height when all of a sudden they crashed into a mountain while flying at a very high speed. All nine passengers on board the helicopter were killed immediately, including the pilot, leading to no survivors.

The world of basketball came crashing down as they heard the news of Bryant. Players and teams including the Denver Nuggets pushed forward to play games on the day the crash occurred. Teams all over the country, including the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, all paid tributes before and during the games by having moments of silence, doing an eight-second backcourt violation and 24-second shot clock violation because of the retirement of Kobe Bryant’s numbers 8 and 24. The Staples Center, where Kobe Bryant spent his 20-year career, was covered with balloons, flowers, murals and basketballs to honor his life.

Bryant started playing basketball at a very young age after his father had also been an NBA player. After Bryant attended Lower Merion High School and began showing people what he could do, he decided to skip college and head straight into the NBA. He was the 13th pick in the draft to the Charlotte Hornets, but that night he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. This was when the legacy of Kobe Bryant began. As a 17-year-old entering the NBA, he had high expectations looking forward. Throughout his NBA season, he had five championships, 15 All-Star Game appearances, four All-Star Game MVP Awards, two NBA Finals MVP Awards and a single regular-season MVP Award. Throwing down a list of Kobe Bryant’s awards is impressive enough on its own, but it’s the debate around his honors that really sums up his career. Bryant not only encouraged the sports world but also showed respect to charities and other sports players. As he was an inspiration to many, our school showed respect to him and his legacy by dedicating a game to him. On January 30th, four days after his passing, our girls’ and boys’ basketball teams had games against Trinidad. For those games, our student section wore gold and purple colors to honor Bryant’s legacy and the Lakers.

However, some parents and teachers complained about the tribute to him because of Bryant’s alleged sexual assault charges back in 2003. A 19-year-old woman had told authorities that on June 30, 2003, Bryant had raped her in his room at The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera where she worked at the front desk. As this charge was called for in Vail, Colo., many parents and faculty members throughout the school district were not happy that students were supporting him. Many faculty members, such as Mr. Moeder-Chandler, said that “Our generation doesn’t know what Kobe had been accused of before he became a basketball All-Star.” The students only know him as a basketball player and nothing more.