The news of Kobe Bryant's death and the aftermath has topped the headlines in the past weeks since the fatal crash. However, little has been said about the impactful life of the basketball legend in his final moments.
Before meeting his tragic end, NBA star, Kobe Bryant made his mark on earth, touching lives, while upholding his Christian faith.
The icon spent the final hours before his fatal flight being a devoted Christian, father, husband, mentor, and friend to those privileged to witness those moments.
Kobe Bryant poses with his family after both his #8 and #24 Los Angeles Lakers jerseys are retired at Staples Center on Dec. 18, 2017. | Photo: Getty Images
That fateful 26th day of January began like every other Sunday for the icon. Per his usual routine, the champion went to observe the solemnity of the Holy Mass at "Our Lady Queen Of Angels," Newport Beach, California, where he was a parishioner.
He attended the first mass of the day along with his daughter, Giana, taking his position at a rear pew to avoid being a distraction to others. Speaking on his last memory of Kobe, the Parish Priest, Father Steve Stallot recounted:
"He was here before the 7 am mass, and that's our first mass of the day. So he would obviously have been in the prayer chapel before that, and he was leaving about 10 to 7."
The priest also revealed that the Lakers forward received the eucharist during the celebration before heading out to board the helicopter to the Mamba Academy.
Kobe Bryant's NBA scoring record-breaker, Lebron James, interacted with him in his last hours. In his tribute to the legend following the crash, the 35-year-old recalled speaking to the athlete that morning before heading to LA.
"The burial was held at the Pacific View Memorial Park, Corona Del Mar."
Gianna and Kobe Bryant attending the WNBA All-Star Game in July 2019. | Photo: Getty Images
The accident happened at about 9:45 am, in the Hills of Calabasas. Prior to that, the star player served as a pillar of encouragement to Shaquille O'Neal's son, Shareef, who was on the verge of transferring out UCLA following the loss of his sister, Ayesha.
Shareef shared a screenshot of their online conversation, where the basketballer questioned about his wellbeing at 8:19 am. He replied over two hours later, at 10:58 am. Unknown to the college undergrad, the NBA star was already gone.
The basketball legend and his 13-year-old daughter, Giana, who died alongside him in the crash, with seven others, were laid to rest in a private funeral held last Friday, February 7th, 2020. The death certificate obtained revealed that the burial was held at the Pacific View Memorial Park, Corona Del Mar. Their causes of death were listed as blunt trauma.
Earlier this week, the late icon's widow, Vanessa Bryant, opened up about her feelings in an emotional post on Instagram. The mother of four revealed that coming out with her feelings was a means of helping others dealing with the loss of a loved one.
In her lengthy statement, the 37-year-old disclosed that in addition to her sad feelings, she was mostly "mad" over the loss of her little girl, who was the formidable heir to Kobe's legacy. However, the realization that she needed to be strong for her three surviving kids has kept her going.
The former model concluded the post saying she knew her feelings were a normal part of the grieving process.
A public memorial for the basketball legend, Kobe and the eight others involved in the crash would hold on February 24th, at the Staples Center.