PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It has been one year since the world lost basketball legend Kobe Bryant. The Lower Merion High School basketball team will hold a 33-second moment of silence before Tuesday night’s game to remember Bryant.
Bryant started at Lower Merion High School in 1992 and by 1996, the spotlight had found him after leading coach Gregg Downer to capture the state championship. He was immediately drafted to the NBA.READ MORE: Thieves Steal ATM From West Philadelphia Laundromat
Bryant, a Lower Merion native, his daughter Gianna, and seven others, were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Jan. 26, 2020.
The helicopter crashed on a steep hillside in dense morning fog, which left other helicopters grounded. The impact scattered debris over an area the size of a football field and killed all aboard.
The sudden death of the 41-year-old who transcended basketball left the sports world devastated.
Within hours of the crash, the area outside Los Angeles’s Staple Center began transforming into a massive memorial as countless mourners gathering from across the country.
Bryant played his entire professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers before retiring in 2016.
The Los Angeles Lakers wore “Black Mamba” jerseys to commemorate Bryant and his daughter several times during last year’s victorious playoff and NBA finals run.
One year later, Bryant’s Lakers family is still grappling with the void left behind.
“There’s a lot of things that die in this world, but legends never die and he’s exactly that,” LeBron James said.
In the Philadelphia area, fans went to Lower Merion High School to mourn the loss of Bryant.
“I came here as soon as I could to pay my final respects to Kobe Bryant,” fan Yonnas Getachew said.
These are the tributes, written on ordinary “thank you” notes, remembering Lower Merion’s Kobe Bryant tonight. “The way you lived, played, worked was as Philly as it gets.” @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/WnAPUwlIBX
— Joe Holden (@JoeHoldenCBS3) January 27, 2020
Bryant’s former high school coach, Gregg Downer, was overwhelmed with grief after receiving news of Kobe’s death.
“He taught us how to win, not to take short-cuts…. how to win championships…..” “I don’t think the momentum would have been there for all of this… ….if not for a man named Kobe Bryant.” – Coach Gregg Downer @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/pWB9Up4WzL
— Joe Holden (@JoeHoldenCBS3) January 28, 2020READ MORE: A Behind-The-Scenes Look At Longwood Gardens' $250 Million Expansion Project That Gets Underway Today
“I truly believe a lot of kids lost their hero and a grown man named Coach Downer lost his also,” Downer said. “We were hoping and praying this was all a bad joke or dream. As reality set in, I broke down in the middle of my kitchen.”
— Joe Holden (@JoeHoldenCBS3) January 26, 2020
In the days after Kobe’s death, tributes in the form of murals began to appear across Los Angeles. More than 240 Kobe murals have since been painted throughout the city.
But beyond tributes and memorials, questions remain about the crash and it’s cause.
There was thick fog at the crash site. The NTSB immediately started its investigation.
The FAA currently does not require helicopters, like the one Bryant was aboard, to have a terrain awareness and warning system — or “TAWS.” It’s a device that helps prevent pilots from crashing.
Bryant’s helicopter also was not required to have a black box.
The NTSB’s report on the crash is due Feb. 9.
Since it was such a high-profile crash, many are hopeful the equipment will become mandatory.
CBS Los Angeles identified the other victims as Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, Harbor Day School basketball coach Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and her middle school-aged daughter Payton, and pilot Ara Zobayan.
“It was the most surreal days,” Tony Altobelli, John’s brother, said. “It was one of the worst days obviously ever, but in a weird way the love and support I got that day from so many people, I’ll remember that part of the day too. It was equally special as it was tragic.”
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