January 26, 2021 marks the one year anniversary since the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, along with seven other victims. Fans and celebrities alike are still reeling over the tragedy, and took to social media to share tributes on the anniversary. Stars posted photos, videos and messages to mourn the losses of Kobe, an NBA legend, and Gianna, a rising basketball star.
Magic Johnson was amongst the first stars to share a tribute to Kobe on the morning of Jan. 26. “Thank you God for allowing me to enjoy Kobe Bryant for 20 years as a great basketball player, athlete, husband, father, philanthropist, mentor & teacher of the game to many men & women of all ages,” he wrote. “Kobe will always be my Lakers brother for life.” He also mentioned the other victims of the crash in his message, noting that he will be remembering all of them on the anniversary of their deaths.
Scottie Pippen also remembered playing in the NBA with Kobe. “I’ll always wish I had one more conversation with Kobe,” he admitted. “For all his greatness and everything he accomplished, his best days were still to come. My thoughts are wil the family and friends of Kobe, Gianna and all the others who were taken from us far too soon a year ago today.”
Fellow athlete, JJ Watt, also weighed in. He shared a famous Kobe quote — “The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they do” — with his tribute. He also added, “Mission accomplished. Rest in peace, Kobe.” Tina Lawson shared a throwback photo of Kobe and Gianna on Instagram and captioned it, “The whole world misses you. Love to Vanessa [Bryant] and the girls.” Common also posted a tribute, writing, “Keep trying until you make it. That’s the forever mentality. May God bless the souls of everyone that passed away in that helicopter accident a year ago!”
Kobe and Gianna were traveling to Mamba Sports Academy for one of Gianna’s basketball games when the crash occurred in Calabasas. The other passengers on the plane were Gianna’s teammates, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, along with Alyssa’s parents, John and Keri Altobelli, Payton’s mom, Sarah Chester, and an assistant coach, Christina Mauser. The pilot, Ara Zobayan, was also killed in the crash.
Kobe was survived by his wife, Vanessa Bryant, and their three other daughters, Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 1. Ahead of the one-year anniversary of Kobe and Gianna’s deaths, Vanessa opened up about how tough the grieving process has been for her over the previous 12 months. “Grief is a messed up cluster of emotions,” she admitted. “One day you’re in the moment laughing and the next day you don’t feel like being alive. I want to say this for people struggling with grief or heartbreaking loss. Find your reason to live. I know it’s hard. I look at my daughters and I try to push through that feeling for them. Death is guaranteed but living the rest of the day isn’t. Find your reason.”