Tributes paid at Education City games after basketball hero’s death alongside his daughter in US helicopter crash
Young basketball players at Qatar Foundation have paid a silent tribute to legend of the sport Kobe Bryant, following his death in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter.
The five-time NBA champion, considered one of the greatest players in basketball history, and his daughter Gianna were among nine people killed in the crash in California earlier this week, leading to moments of silence being held at basketball games across the US.
And these acts of remembrance were echoed at Qatar Foundation as participants in its basketball community classes and the Education City Universities Basketball League stood in solemn tribute to Bryant and the other victims of the tragedy before their latest matches.
“Kobe Bryant is one of the reasons I play basketball, because of his winning mentality,” said Hamza Salim, one of the young participants in QF’s basketball classes. Although he is gone, his legacy will continue.”
To continue his legacy we have to adopt his mentality – the way he played, the way he cared, and the way he presented a positive vision of the world.
Fellow player Erica Kar said: “I am still in shock, but to continue his legacy we have to adopt his mentality – the way he played, the way he cared, and the way he presented a positive vision of the world.”
Francis Dustice, who also participates in the basketball classes, said Bryant “changed the game and nobody will ever forget him”, while Adam Al Mutwalli said: “His spirit will live on because everyone loved him.”
Bryant played for the LA Lakers throughout his 20-year career, being named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) once and the NBA Finals’ MVP twice. He was also NBA scoring champion on two occasions and a five-time Olympic champion, as well as winning an Oscar in 2018 for his short animated film Dear Basketball.
He worked hard to be the best, and this is the mindset we look to instil in young people.
“Kobe Bryant always looked to spread the message among young people that they should find something they love, just as he found basketball and fell in love with the game,” said Sandra Ramos, the coach in charge of QF’s basketball program.
“He worked hard to be the best, and this is the mindset we look to instil in young people. If they set goals for themselves, they will work hard to achieve them through positivity, discipline, and teamwork.”
Hamad Al Shaiba, Sports Programming Specialist at QF, said: “The passing of Kobe Bryant is a huge loss for the sport, and we want to keep his spirit alive in the young people who participate in our sports programs, as we look to motivate them to develop their skills and talents, build their self-confidence, and contribute to fostering a healthy society.”