Sports

NBA Players Remember Kobe Bryant on First Anniversary of Death

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.

One year has passed since NBA legend and lifelong Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna and seven other souls while on their way to a youth basketball tournament.

Current and former NBA players have been sharing their thoughts and memories on social media today about Bryant, one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the sport. Many posted photos of Bryant and their own interactions with him on and off the court.

All-star power forward and current member of the Cleveland Cavaliers Kevin Love posted a photo on Instagram of him and Bryant embracing on the hardwood. “RIP to those lost. MAMBA FOREVER!!!” he wrote with a snake and black heart emoji. “Still doesn’t seem real,” he added on Twitter.

Lakers teammate Larry Nance Jr. posted a video of him and Bryant sharing a moment at the end of a hard-fought victory against the Utah Jazz. In the video, Bryant beats his chest before Nance Jr. walks up to him and offers him a huge congratulations on the win. “For the moments, lessons, and memories I’ll have forever,” Nance Jr. wrote. “Truly thankful.”

Former NBA superstar Vince Carter, who played in the NBA for 24 seasons before retiring last year, had many head-to-head matchups with Bryant over the years. On Twitter Tuesday, he posted a photo collage of some of his favorite memories with the Black Mamba as they competed throughout their long careers in the league. “Rest in peace, my guy,” he wrote. “Today, we honor and remember you and Gigi!!”

Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal, who Bryant won three consecutive NBA titles with in the early 2000s, told PEOPLE magazine that he would be honoring Bryant by calling Bryant’s family today.

“I’m just going to call his mom and dad and tell them I love them,” O’Neal says. “His mom reminds me of my mom, so wonderful. And his dad reminds me of my dad. [Bryant’s] two sisters and their kids, they call me Uncle Shaq. I’m just going to call them and tell [them] that I love them and if they need anything from me, they can contact me.”

A few days ago, NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony, who competed against Bryant for 13 seasons until Bryant retired in 2016, spoke about his friend’s legacy and reemphasized what Bryant’s mantra, the “Mamba Mentality,” meant to him.

“The most important thing about Kobe for me was his approach and his mentality,” Anthony said. His game speaks for itself. He called it the Mamba Mentality. That’s something that’s going to be here for a long, long time. It’s a mindset I think that’s what I took from him. How to change your mindset, how to approach it, how to become self-motivated, what makes you tick.”