On Jan. 26, 2020, the world lost Kobe Bryant. He and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were two of the nine people killed in a helicopter crash that occurred on their way to Gianna's youth basketball game.
The Los Angeles Lakers star player had grown from being an athlete into an Oscar-winning producer, best-selling author and philanthropist.
Through it all, he was proudly a husband, son and girl dad.
Kobe’s widow, Vanessa, has shared some of her family’s milestones as they navigated this first year without Kobe and Gigi.
As with any loss, special occasions like holidays and birthdays hurt the most.
In August, on what would have been Kobe Bryant’s 42nd birthday, his wife wrote in part on Instagram, “I always wanted to go first so that I selfishly didn’t have to feel this heartache. You were supposed to miss me. Gigi was supposed to be here with her sisters.”
Tributes to Gianna Bryant have also been heartfelt and emotional, with a ceremony at her school, as well as an honorary WNBA draft, that included Gianna, as well as Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, the other young basketball players who lost their lives in the helicopter crash.
Retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal told The Today Show he has pictures of he and Kobe on the wall in his gym. “It’s still kind of hard,” he began. “He was already a legend. He was already a guy who will never be forgotten. He’s definitely, definitely gone too soon.”
Kobe’s loss was felt deeply by the Lakers organization as they won the NBA Championship, after a season in what has been referred to as "the bubble," where players had to quarantine in order to play, as the pandemic reshaped the way the league operates.
“Kobe and Gianna have guided this team the entire year. Kobe’s voice is always in my head. Always. Every minute,” said Lakers General Manager Rob Pilenka.
Kobe’s loved ones have shown strength as they’ve survived this year without him, but it will always be "Mamba Forever."