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One Year Later: Remembering Kobe Bryant

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Basketball legend was also a devout Catholic whose faith saved his marriage and family.

One year ago, the world lost Kobe Bryant, one of the best basketball players on record. Although known for his talents on the court, Bryant was also a devout Catholic whose faith transformed his life. 

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Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
1/26/2021 (7 months ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: Kobe Bryant, Catholic, faith, transform, change

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - On the morning of January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant attended Mass with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. Leaving a few minutes early to avoid attention, Kobe and Gianna boarded a helicopter bound for Camarillo Airport in Ventura Country, CA. Their destination was a basketball game in Thousand Oaks. 

The flight was troubled by light rain and fog that obscured the greater Los Angeles area. At 9:45 AM, Bryant's helicopter crashed into a hill near the town of Calabasas. Kobe and his daughter perished, along with seven other onboard the helicopter, including the pilot. 

The cause of the crash remains unknown, but it is widely believed the pilot simply did not see clearly enough to avoid the hazardous terrain. 

The world was shocked by Bryant's sudden passing. In the aftermath, his last hour was reconstructed and his attendance at Mass was publicized. It was then that millions of people learned about Bryant's incredible faith. 

Kobe Bryant wasn't always a devout person. He enjoyed a successful career with the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the world's all-time best basketball teams. The money and the fame were a challenging influence for him. He faced legal troubles for his behavior and his wife, Vanessa Bryant (nee Laine), nearly divorced him. But with counseling and a newfound devotion to his Catholic faith, Bryant changed his life, saving his family and his career. 

Bryant's career with the Lakers spanned 20 years. He helped the Lakers win five NBA (National Basketball Association) championships, and was declared Most Valuable Player in 2008. 

After his career in professional Basketball came to an end in 2016, Bryant devoted his time to God, his family, and charity. 

Today, he is remembered by us not only as a great athlete and a transformed person, but as a faithful Catholic. His transformation from a great sinner to a faithful servant of God, a devoted family man and philanthropist, is an example to all. 

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