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Kobe Bryant’s legacy continues a year after his death

Last Updated Jan 26, 2021 at 8:42 pm CST

The day NBA superstar and Olympic gold medalist Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash is one of those moments in life where people remember where they were when they heard the tragic news.

“Last year, this time I was out recruiting and watching different players in Oregon when I got the news and headed to LA,” retired WNBA star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings told CityNews.

Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and seven others died in an early morning helicopter crash on January 26th, 2020 in California. For weeks the sports community and fans mourned the death of the five-time NBA Champion. Many of his close friends and fellow athletes still haven’t come to terms with his death.

“It’s really hard to believe it’s been a year. I still haven’t processed it,” Catchings, who is also the General Manager of the WNBA team the Indian Fever, said.

“It’s crazy the impact that somebody could have, not just in the sports world, but in every aspect of the world. I think about the impact that he’s had on so many people’s lives, it’s just crazy.”

Tamika and Kobe both spent part of their childhood’s in Italy where their fathers played basketball, and they grew up watching each other make and break records in the WNBA and NBA.

While the WNBA orange hoodie was one of the most sought after gifts under the tree this year, Catchings said it was Kobe that helped bring attention to the league.

“What a legacy that he’s left. Even from the NBA side you see a lot of the players now that have daughters, Kobe really emphasized taking their daughters to games and supporting the WNBA,” Catchings explained.

“Kobe also wearing the WNBA hoodie courtside, that went on to be one of the best selling across the world. He was really the spark for the growth of the WNBA the support that we’ve gotten. His life in general for all of us is an example of how to be great using the Mamba mentality.”

Catchings and Bryant are both being inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in the 2020 class. The ceremony has been postponed because of COVID-19.