The world is still mourning the loss of one of the greatest NBA players of our time, Kobe Bryant, who tragically passed away in a helicopter crash in January. Fans have been finding ways to keep the "Black Mamba” spirit alive.
Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Kobe Bryant was tragically killed in a helicopter on January 26, along with his daughter, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, and seven others.
Family, friends, and fans were shocked to learn of his passing, and nearly 11 months later, the loss is still heartbreaking. However, fans have found a way to keep his spirit alive by naming their pets in honor of the late NBA legend.
Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant at a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on November 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.|Source: Getty Images
TMZ reported that an increased number of pets had been named for the fallen star. The name “Mamba” recorded a 111% increase while “Black Mamba” recorded a 58% increase.
At the time of reporting, the name “Kobe” was up by 16%, while his daughter’s nickname “Gigi” also spiked by 20% since 2019. Similar stats were reported with boys' names as well.
The late basketball legend will also be posthumously honored in May 2021 when the NBA inducts the 18-time All-star champion into the NBA Hall of Fame.
The event originally set for August 2020 was postponed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In November, the NBA announced that the ceremony would be held from May 13 to May 15.
Kobe will be joining other iconic basketball players honored at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame located in Springfield, Massachusettes.
Fellow NBA players Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett will also be honored at the ceremony next year, and the trio will join the ranks of Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal.
Aside from his basketball career, Kobe had also ventured into film and excelled. After retiring from basketball in 2016, he penned an emotional poem, “Dear Basketball,” which was turned into a short film with the help of film industry professionals.
The heartwarming short film was aired at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017 and earned the basketball legend the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2018.
At the time of his death, Kobe and his daughter, an aspiring basketball player, were on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy, where he coached basketball.
Kobe was survived by his wife of 19 years, Vanessa Bryant, and three daughters, Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and Capri, who was born in 2019.