On Sunday, January 26, 2020 the world of basketball was shaken to its core. Lakers legend, Black Mamba was dead. Kobe Bryant had been killed along with his daughter and 7 other people when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California. How can the NBA ever recover from this immense loss?
Even those not familiar with the world of basketball will be familiar with the name Kobe Bryant, a man who dedicated his 20-season career to the Lakers, making him the second longest one-franchise player in NBA history. Bryant’s beginnings with the NBA made history as he was the youngest player to be drafted at that time, but equally his exit from the NBA set him in the record books. The letter Bryant wrote in 2015, announcing his retirement, became the basis for Dear Basketball, an animated short film which won the 2018 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. As Kobe wrote and narrated the film, this gong put Kobe Bryant’s name in the record books as the first professional athlete to win an Oscar.
Retiring in style in April 2016, he scored a season-high 60 points in his final game and the same year was honoured by the Los Angeles mayor with his own day, August 24th, taken from his two jersey numbers. During a special half-time show during the 2017 season, the Lakers retired both his jersey numbers. Kobe’s impact on the court was unquestionable, and the chapter of his life after retirement was tragically cut short.
A father of 4 girls, including 13-year-old Gianna who died with him, Bryant left a legacy that will remain in the hearts of Lakers and NBA fans alike.
There have been many tributes to Black Mamba, including the unforgettable Kobe & Gianna Bryant ‘Celebration of Life’ ceremony held at Staples Center on February 24, 2020. Though there is no way to truly capture the incredible career and tragic death of Kobe Bryant, we have teamed up with the LA Times to create our own memorial to him.
Within a special hand-made purple and gold giftbox you will find two special edition books. One contains the history of the Lakers franchise since it began in 1960. It includes all the highlights and triumphs using newspaper reports written at the time. Kobe’s many achievements during his 20 seasons with the Lakers are included within this complete story of the franchise – but one edition is not enough of a tribute to the man who is arguably the greatest player in their history.
The second book within this set is comprised of every LA Times article within our archive which commemorates Kobe Bryant. From the Calabasas helicopter crash, to the Kobe and Gianna Bryant Memorial service. There is no other publisher who can replicate this unique commemorative gift, and we can only hope that it does justice to the great man it has been created to honour.