Five-time NBA champion, two-time Olympic medalist and long-time LA Lakers player Kobe Bryant was one of nine passengers who lost their lives in a plane crash in California Sunday morning. Bryant’s teenage daughter Giana was also killed in the crash.
Bryant is being remembered around the world as one of the generation's best basketball players. The 60-point game, after which he retired on 2016, remains the second highest record for points scored by a single player in a single game.
However, the 41-year-old was also a loving father and devoted Catholic. While his skill at the game is being remembered, his faith is also being remembered.
Bryant’s Catholic Faith
For many people, Bryant’s faith was first made public in a 2015 GQ article.
“I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic,” Bryant told the Men's fashion magazine in 2015, months before his retirement. Then in his thirties, Bryant was talking specifically about an incident 12 years earlier.
While many people eventually forgot about the incident, it was a difficult time for Bryant, both professionally and personally.
“(My priest) just said, ’Let it go. Move on. God’s not going to give you anything you can’t handle, and it’s in his hands now. This is something you can’t control. So let it go.’ And that was the turning point,” Bryant told GQ.
Since news of the accident broke, celebrities, politicians, and everyone in between have been turning to social media to eulogize the basketball star.
“I’m heartbroken at the news of his death, alongside his daughter Gianna. My prayers go out to his Family, friends and loved ones,” singer and fellow Catholic Cristino Ballestero said on Instagram after telling the story of meeting Bryant at mass one day. “Eternal rest grant unto him, and her oh Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they Rest In Peace, Amen. We love you Kobe & Gianna.”
Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez, also turned to Twitter.
“Together with my brother bishops, we prayed for #KobeBryant, his daughter, and all victims of Sunday’s helicopter crash. Join me in praying that their souls, through the mercy of God, may rest in peace,” tweeted Archbishop Gomez.
What Caused the Crash?
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. It is believed that adverse weather conditions may have played a factor, as heavy fog was reported that day.