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The Maastricht Diplomat

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Rest in Peace Kobe Bryant…

Last Sunday, on the 26th of January 2020, Kobe Bryant, his 13 years old daughter Gianna Bryant, her teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chesteeir parents Keri and John Altobelli, and Sarah Chester, basketball assistant coach Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on their way to Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy.

Kobe Bryant devoted himself to his family; and to basketball. He was coaching his daughter’s basketball team after being retired from NBA in 2016. Father of 4 kids, Kobe Bryant was known as “Black Mamba”, and his daughter Gianna was known as “Mambacita”. Indeed, basketball run in their blood, considering that Kobe’s father, Joe Bryant was also an NBA player.

However, just like everyone, Kobe’s life was not perfect. In 2003, he was accused of sexual assault by a 19-year-old women. The criminal charges were dropped after the trial. Afterwards, in a civil suit he denied the assault, but admitted to a sexual encounter. Even though he issued a public apology, these allegations made him lose a lot of sponsorships, and gave him a bad reputation.

In the morning of 26 January 2020, there were poor air conditions, which the pilots of the company were not allowed to fly in. Furthermore, the helicopter did not have a flight data recorder (FDR), since it is not required in the US. Even though the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommends one all helicopters equipped for 6 or more passengers, the air craft also did not have a terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS).

Ara Zobayan, the helicopter pilot, had more than 20 years of flight experience. He was Kobe Bryant’s private pilot, and Bryant did not trust anyone but him to fly his helicopter. Even though he had plenty of experience, Zobayan made a bad decision that day and chose to fly against all the factors that indicated that he should not. This shows us that no matter how experienced and successful, we are still obliged to follow the rules.

According to the reporters, it was hard to identify who died in the crash. Sadly, it was revealed that there were no survivors.

After Bryant’s death, we saw grief onany social media outlets, and in the sports world. Even a petition is started in order to change the NBA logo to Kobe Bryant’s silhouette.

There is also interviews with Bryant’s close friend and colleague Shaquille O’Neal where he claims that he will do “whatever” for Bryant’s kids ianka Bella Bryant, Capri Kobe Bryant, and Natalia Diamente Bryant – need.

An NBA legend, a father, a husband, and a friend… Even more than this, he has been an inspiration for many basketball enthusiasts. Kobe Bryant will be remembered. Our condolences to his family and friends…


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