It’s crazy to think that it has been almost a year since COVID-19 took the world by storm. It’s even crazier to think that it has been an entire year since the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. It was on Jan. 26, 2020 that the world was shocked by the horrific and surprising news that a helicopter accident in California killed both Bryant, his daughter Gianna along with seven others. Many will remember seeing social media posts all over with the signature saying that “nothing will be the same without Kobe.” It just so happens that following the passing of the Hall of Fame shooting guard, the world became a tougher place to live in and sports became almost impossible to play for a period of time. Bryant left a lasting impact not only on the basketball court but off it as well as being a father figure. The tragic event in January was seemingly the start of a domino effect of misfortunes that came in 2020, which was only emphasized by the fact that the world of sports would not be the same without Kobe Bryant.

Bryant was a well-respected player by sports fans of all backgrounds, and whether you grew up rooting for the Lakers or the Celtics, you most likely respected Bryant’s prowess. He stood for all the right values and had a tenacious competitive spirit, making it easy to respect his leadership and work ethic. His legacy on the court is without question one of the most notorious in the history of professional sports. Bryant spent a total of 20 seasons with the Lakers organization and delivered five championships during that time. He also averaged 25 points per game and made it to 18 All-Star games, earning the title MVP in 2008. While these accolades capture his lofty individual achievements, all he ever cared about was winning. He was never heavily focused on season statistics like many players currently representing the NBA. Almost every athlete wants to leave a lasting impact on the game when they decide to hang up their jerseys, but legends leave impacts that are often not defined solely by their professional sports careers.

Steph Curry, known as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, made waves after wearing custom sneakers with an image of himself and his daughters, and Bryant and his daughter Gianna. One of the recently trending hashtags seen throughout social media over the past few years has been #GirlDad, a phrase meant to express the strength in the bond between fathers and daughters. The tagline has helped athletes and sports fans alike spread love to as many current and future fathers as they can. The impact that Bryant has had on fans and athletes’ lives is unparalleled, and one of the most important aspects of his legacy is what he has done to help fathers appreciate their daughters as they would their sons. Bryant will forever be remembered for embodying kindness, courage and fortitude both on and off the court, and many will remember the superb role model that Bryant truly turned out to be.