The world was shocked to hear of the accident that claimed the life of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, on Sunday.
In a matter of moments, a basketball star and icon was stolen away from the world, and many who were impacted by his career have been hit hard by the news.
His first name became a catchphrase known all around the world, and even those who never knew him personally feel connected to him and his impressive achievements.
While Gianna “Gigi” Bryant was carrying on her father’s legacy in the sport he championed, he made sure she knew his love of her was not based on how well she measured up in the game, according to an interview he gave to CBS News last year.
Article after article has been published highlighting Bryant’s deeds, career and life, and remembering his daughter and all the promise she showed — but there are also other families and friends grieving for the seven other people who were aboard the same flight.
Their lives bear honoring, too.
John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli — father, mother and daughter, respectively — all perished in the crash. Alyssa, Gianna’s teammate, was another promising basketball player.
As head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California, John leaves a legacy of fostering players and helping athletes achieve their goals.
“John was a tremendous coach and an even better friend,” Jason Kehler, the OCC athletics director, said, according to CBS News. “Beyond that, he was an amazing mentor to all of the students and athletes that he taught and coached. He treated them all like family and his impact will live on forever.”
“It’s hard to put into words what this loss means to the college and the athletics department.”
Sarah and Payton Chester were another mother and daughter aboard the doomed flight. Payton was a promising player on the same team as Gianna and Alyssa.
“Sarah and Payton were the lights of our family,” the grieving family said, according to People. “Payton had a smile and personality that would light any room, and a passion for the game of basketball. She found joy on any court and loved all of her teammates and coaches.”
“Sarah was full of life and the glue of our family. She was a tireless force in support of her family. The love we feel from so many today is a testament to the community she created for us.”
Another coach, Christina Mauser, was well-loved by her young players.
She was an assistant coach for the team Gianna played on, and leaves behind three young children and her husband, who taught at the same school she did.
“She was extraordinary,” Matt Mauser told NBC’s “Today.”
“She was incredibly witty, funny, funny like nobody you’ve ever met,” he added. “She was warm, she was incredibly bright, she was technologically incredibly savvy. She could figure out anything.”
“I got three small kids, and I’m trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom. I’m scared. I think more than anything I’m a little scared about the future.”
The pilot, who also died in the crash, was Ara Zobayan.
According to The Orange County Register, not only had Zobayan been flying for around two decades, he’d been a ground instructor since 2008.
Friends of the pilot told The Register that he was “very safe, very skilled, very talented pilot” and “very by-the-book.”
Any air travel carries with it the inherent risk of an accident, as this tragedy proves.
Many have been using this surprising loss as an opportunity to comfort the grieving families as well as tell those they hold dearest how much they love them.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.