Remembering Kobe Bryant: NBA legend made dreams come true

"The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do."

On January 26, a helicopter crash claimed the lives of Kobe and nine other people, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. “When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died,” said basketball legend Michael Jordan at the late NBA great’s memorial service last year. On August 23, the Black Mamba would have turned 43 if he was still alive.

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While the memory of his shocking death is still fresh in people’s minds, there’s a lot that people don’t know about the star, his rise to fame and how he gave back to the community.

Did you know Kobe Bryant worked extensively to uplift people? His charitable ventures included 20 years of helping sick kids smile with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The All-Star also lent his support to a number of causes, including after-school programs, cancer research and helping the homeless.

An everyday hero

Kobe did more than just help people. He was a champion for causes. Kobe mentored members of the next generation, raised the standards of education and took his creativity beyond basketball. He loved coaching his daughter, openly campaign for the women’s wing and spoke candidly on his shortcomings.

The 6-foot-6-inches star loved making dreams come true, especially for the children who had enrolled with the foundation. And he was no stranger to the goodwill charity. With the aim to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses, he had made appearances with the foundation over a hundred times in the span of 20 years.

And that was just one example of the giant’s philanthropic work. The Los Angeles Lakers legend took his work home, making basketball an essential part of his charity outreach. He was often seen volunteering for the Boys & Girls Club of America, for whom he would host basketball camps.

Shooting the right baskets

His zeal to give back to the community carried on even with the NBA. Kobe took an active part in the league’s NBA Care Initiatives, helping build homes and basketball courts. He also lent a hand in stocking food pantries and encouraged reading habits.

Kobe was the champion for children’s education. He was the official spokesperson for the After-School All-Stars. The national charity for children helps over 80,000 kids with after-school activities and encourages them to continue pursuing their dreams.

Kobe also actively took part in activities with the Aid Still Required organization, which provided relief to people suffering after natural calamities.

Everyone wanted to be Kobe

When he was not making dreams come true with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he was contributing from his pocket to support cancer initiatives. He also raised $80 million in funds for cancer research in 2012.

His biggest contribution to the community came in the form of the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, which he started with his wife Vanessa. Through the foundation, the couple raised millions to help sponsor international enrichment experiences for college students from minority communities. They also encouraged students with domestic and international youth scholarships for the Kobe Bryant Basketball Academy.

One of the foundation’s biggest thrusts went into combating homelessness among the youth. They especially focused their efforts in the Los Angeles area while raising awareness for the cause.

Scoring global points

Kobe’s global presence led to the launch of the Kobe Bryant China Fund in 2009. The fund specifically raised money to support education, sports and culture among children in China and the United States.

Culture was a huge part of Kobe’s upbringing and it showed when he and his wife made a $1 million pledge to the National Museum of African American History and Culture as its founding donors.

The NBA star also drew attention to the many causes of the league and support initiatives taken by former President Barack Obama.

Clearly, a man who loved the community. Kobe has been hailed for many acts of kindness, and he leaves behind a legacy that is forever etched in people’s hearts.

We raise a toast to one of the greatest athletes of his generation who had an immeasurable impact on the world of sports and the community of basketball. Black Mamba forever!

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