WACO, TX — Tuesday marks the one year anniversary of the tragic helicopter crash that took Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s life, as well as seven others aboard.
“I was scrolling on my phone and I saw on Instagram that Kobe and Gigi had passed away in a helicopter flight,” remembered Midway Shooting Guard Abbie Price.
“I kinda didn’t believe it at first, because I thought, "No, it couldn’t be them,"” said Midway Point Guard Kiara Poole.
One a legendary basketball player, and the other following in her father’s footsteps. Kobe and Gigi Bryant were more than just extraordinary players, they were also huge supporters of the WNBA and women’s sports.
“He was the first NBA player to make it known that he supports women’s sports,” said McLennan Community College Assistant Women's Basketball Coach Candice Thomas.
Kobe Bryant even created a mantra for athletes to find their competitive spirit known as the "Mamba Mentality.”
“He would always prove people wrong. If somebody was talking trash to him, and he showed them that he could do it,” said Price.
“Never give up on your dreams, and if people are telling you no, just keep going and keep striving for the best,” said Poole.
“I played college basketball and I wore 24 because of Kobe, because that’s the way people said I played. You know, just his competitive spirit. When adversity hit, you just keep going, and that’s what the Mamba Mentality is all about,” said Coach Thomas.
While the lives aboard the helicopter on January 26, 2020, were all taken too soon, Kobe and Gigi continue to inspire and encourage female athletes around the world, even here in Waco, Texas.
Kobe once said, “The most important thing is to try and inspire people, so that they can be great at whatever they want to do.”
Even in death, Kobe and Gigi Bryant continue to do just that.