The Black Mamba Lives On


The1point8 / Carlos G.

Photo recap of the Kobe Bryant memorial, taking place across the street from the Staples Center. Event was photographed on 1/26/2020, the day Kobe Bryant passed away in Calabasas, California during a helicopter crash.

Bridget Reyes

On Sunday morning, January 26th, a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed in a hillside near Calabasas, California. In that very helicopter, nine lives were taken including three teenagers and six adults. Among the nine lives, NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant tragically passed. As the news was first reported by TMZ many could not believe their eyes, and the whole world stopped.

On the day of the crash the Grammys were being held at the Staples Center for its annual show, but that did not stop fans from paying their respects. As borders were placed around the arena, many made the best of it by placing artwork, photos, flowers, and memorabilia. 

On social media, especially Twitter, “Kobe ” was trending due to fans sharing their favorite memories of him and how he impacted their lives. In Los Angeles, Kobe was viewed as an idol due to his athleticism in basketball.  Children screamed his name when shooting paper balls into a trash can, others relived watching him as a youngster starting his basketball career to a retired man living his best life. 

Murals were painted, photos were displayed, videos played, and stories were shared. Bryant shaped generations for years, no matter the age, the name “Kobe”  impacted someone in some way. 

“When he came out with the Mamba Mentality, I remember hearing his idea of having a fearless mentality where nothing is unattainable and it just showed me that he was amazing and that you can’t make excuses for yourself,” said fan and academic coach Stacey España. 

Mamba Mentality emphasized the idea that you can never give up as well as giving your absolute 100 percent to every goal you are trying to attain. This mentality shaped a great number of NBA players like Kyle Kuzma, Kevin Durant, and many more. His mentality showed aspiring basketball players to work for their dreams and to not let anyone take them away.

The Mamba Mentality became a phenomenon and millions adopted the mentality to their daily lives. Professional athlete or not Bryant had shown that his mentality was to not be forgotten and to always push for your dreams no matter what. So with his sudden passing, many committed to adopting the Mamba mentality to its fullest and to continue the legacy of Kobe Bryant.

“To continue the legacy of Kobe, I’ll keep pushing myself to play basketball as well as play for him and to never stop doing what I love,” said junior Yutaka Mahe, a student-athlete. .  

As Bryant’s news touched the hearts for many, it is also important to remember the other lives who were involved. 


The nine lives included:

Kobe Bryant, 41

Former Laker and NBA legend played for 20 seasons in the league. He wore both the number 8 and 24, which is now retired by the Lakers organization. He was a 5x NBA champion, 2006-2007 MVP, and 2x Finals MVP, but that’s just to name a few. He was also a devoted father to his four daughters as well as a husband of 20 years to his wife Vanessa Bryant. 

Gianna Bryant, 13

An aspiring eighth-grade basketball player who dreamt of playing for UCONN and in the WNBA. Gianna, also known as “Gigi,” was the second-oldest of Bryant’s four daughters. Bryant and Gianna were always captured together at her basketball games or attending other basketball games. Her father, known as “Black Mamba,” nicknamed her “Mambacita.”  

John Altobelli, 56

Head coach for the Orange Coast College Pirates, a junior college located in Costa Mesa, California. Mr. Altobelli had spent 27 seasons with the Pirates and was recently named defending junior champs. He was also a devoted father to his three children, a husband to his wife Keri, and a mentor to many athletes.

Keri Altobelli, 46

Wife of John Altobelli, mother of three, and newly made business owner. Mrs. Altobelli had recently taken over the family business and shared her life on the diamond, much like her husband. 

Alyssa Altobelli, 14

Also an aspiring basketball player, Alyssa had played in the same team as Gianna, known as “The Mambas,” who were coached by Kobe. Alyssa also had dreams of playing for the University of Oregon as well as entering the WNBA. 

Sarah Chester, 45

Mother of three, who enjoyed being around her family and being the best friend to all of her children. She was a devoted mother who was always there for her children and supported them.

Payton Chester, 13

Payton was an aspiring basketball player who had spent years playing for “The Mambas.” She had planned to take her talent to high school and college. She was also teammates and friends with Gianna and Alyssa.

Christina Mauser, 38

A defensive specialist for the Mambas, but before working with Kobe she was P.E. teacher at Harbor Day, where Gianna had attended school. She had worked there for roughly 11 years before taking the job with Kobe. She was also a mother of three as well as a wife to her husband Matthew Mauser.

Ara Zobayan, 50

Mr. Zobayan was always fascinated by flying, so when he decided to become a pilot he attended Group 3 Aviation, a helicopter pilot school in Van Nuys, California. Ever since then he had over 20 years of experience and flying in a helicopter was what he loved the most.

The city of Los Angeles won’t forget the legacy of each individual who passed away. This city will continue their legacies and will carry on their teachings to the next generations. This tragic end will not stop the city of L.A. from remembering those involved as well as comforting the families who were affected.