*The clouds looming on the horizon on an overcast day obscured the sky and served as a backdrop, signifying the mood of onlookers as they viewed and took photos of a hilly mountainside, typical of the well-to-do Calabasas area.
That mountainside was the final destination for NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed along with his daughter Gianna and seven other passengers when his private helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76B lost control, ending in a horrific, fiery crash at the scene.
“You can’t put words to this loss,” said Tim O’ Hayer, an NBA and Kobe Bryant fan spotted not far from the crash scene. “Dying with your daughter and a bunch of your friends, being a good Samaritan- he’s out doing service on a Sunday in a basketball camp. In my eyes, he’s a saint.”
While Kobe Bryant wasn’t a saint, he had saint-like achievements in his NBA career. At 18 years and 72 days, Bryant was one of the youngest to enter the NBA and the first guard to go from high school directly to the NBA’s professional ranks. He appeared in the NBA’s All-Star game 18 times, won the NBA Championship 5 times, was the Finals MVP twice, voted 15 times to the NBA Defensive team, and earned two Olympic Gold medals. However, Bryant was more than just a basketball player. He was revered internationally and had wide international appeal.
Ahmed, a Kobe Bryant fan from India, who was also at the crash site, fondly remembered the NBA star.
“In the 90s, when Kobe and Shaquille O’Neal had the three-peat, that’s when I became an NBA and basketball fan,” said Ahmed. “I idolized him, and he’s been my role model ever since. That’s why I’m here.”
Fans flocked to the crash site in Calabasas, California, including Toa, a young man from the south coast of Africa, the Ivory Coast.
“He’s been a major staple in my life,” said Toa. “He left a great legacy- his work ethic, his helping everyone- giving information on how to achieve goals, breaking everything down to the smallest details to be used after basketball. If you traveled down a different avenue, you can take the same drive and apply it.”
Debbie Soto of Sylmar, who was spotted leaving a flower at a makeshift memorial to Kobe Bryant, felt as if she was losing a member of her family.
“He meant a lot for our whole family,” said Debbie Soto, choking away tears. “When he had the championships, we would always have big parties at the house, and we did our own parade up and down the street. He means a lot, especially to my son, Cassius.”
Basketball players throughout the world were inspired by Kobe Bryant, and his influence is apparent through many walks of life, including with young, female athletes. “I’ve been watching him my whole life,” said Nancy, a young college player, that enjoys basketball and pickup games. “He inspired me to play basketball at a young age at my school.”
At the Staples Center, in downtown Los Angeles, many Kobe Bryant and Laker fans have gathered to pay their respects to the legend, with makeshift memorials in several locations near and at the venue. Tears could be seen everywhere and Cynthia Douglas, a huge Laker fan couldn’t hide her emotion.
“This is really sad, what happened, but I just want to thank Kobe for all the memories,” said Cynthia Douglas through tears. “I have a son who loves basketball because of Kobe Bryant. He was a great role model to us all. The mentality, the drive, the determination and everything that he’s given to LA and the world will always be remembered. He’ll never be forgotten in our hearts, minds, and every time we watch a basketball game we will think of Kobe Bryant.”
Kobe’s legacy of hard work, grit and determination will be remembered, but the cloud of emotion, lowered to the citizens of Los Angeles and to the world, has made January 26, 2020 one of the saddest days in world history. Kobe Bryant had a multi-generational, multi-racial effect on millions of citizens worldwide. “It’s a sad day for Los Angeles, a sad day in sports, a sad day for Kobe’s family,” said Kathy Lopez, a Laker fan at Staples Center the day after the crash.
“It’s just sad for everyone period.” Indeed, many fans, journalists, entertainers and even worldwide politicians are struggling to understand the tragedy and events of January 26th, 2020. “There’s nothing we can put this up against,” said Tim O’ Hayer. “We’d probably accept this more if Kobe were in a car accident by himself, but in a helicopter crash, in a helicopter he owned, it’s just too much to comprehend.”
Despite the cloud of emotions looming beyond the overcast day in Los Angeles, the brilliance of Kobe Bryant transcends the sport of basketball. Bryant leaves a legacy of work ethic and caring for others, which is why he was beloved by millions. Tim O’ Hayer explained what Kobe’s legacy meant to him and to world civilization.
“Do your best and good things will happen,” said O’Hayer when asked what most inspired him about NBA star Kobe Bryant. “Just never quit, never stop. Be that guy or lady that’s looking out for other people, not your own special interests.”
Thanks to Basketballreference.com for providing information on Kobe Bryant’s brilliance.
Buddy Sampson, Publisher, The Scoop LA is a veteran journalist and professional musician that has covered The OJ Simpson Trial and many news stories. As a professional musician, he has graced the stages of Los Angeles and Europe.
Kim Webster is a photojournalist that has graced the pages of The Scoop LA, and several other Los Angeles publications.
The Virtual United Negro College Fund Tour Heads to NY, DC & NJ on Fri & Sat-Nov. 20 & 21 (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)
*African American students interested in going to college can attend the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Fall 2020 virtual Empower Me Tour. Set for this Friday and Saturday (November 20 & 21, 2020), New York, District of Columbia, and New Jersey will be repped. (This year’s tour kicked off earlier this month in Wisconsin and Illinois). To register, go here.
The Empower Me Tour is an extension of the goals of the UNCF. Founded in 1944, the UNCF, a non-profit, has raised more than $5 billion and helped more than 500,000 students attend 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The EUR caught up with Stacey Lee, the tour’s director for four years, who discussed the importance of the event.
“The UNCF is the nation’s largest provider of education support to minority students,” said Lee. “The Empowerment Tour has been executed for the past 12 years and last year along we offered over $12 million dollars in scholarships.”
Lee continued, “I think the great thing is that during these times, even with COVID-19, is that a number of corporations (Wells Fargo/P&/FedEx/Disney/Goldman Sachs) and donors have really been providing opportunity and financial access to our schools and students.”
The tour is packed with information and resources so that students and parents have the right tools to make informed decisions.
“It’s a free event that provides educational support, scholarships, interviews with colleges, empowerment, and information on how to get to and through college. We also provide this information for parents as well. We have a parent section that focuses on financial aid and the things you need to get your students to college.”
Lee continued, “Sometimes we have students that don’t realize that they can attend college. They can receive scholarships. Some of them don’t even know what an HBCU is. So, it’s inspirational for me to see these students receive this information and the excitement that’s around this tour.”
In addition to college information, panel sessions on issues affecting the community will also take place. Legendary rapper Bun B will be part of a special My Black Is Beautiful panel. The panel will have discussions with girls and boys and the MC will lead the male portion.
“It’s about empowerment,” Bun B told the EUR. “It’s vital for us to lift each other up and amplify each other’s voices. We just talk about now what that role is in this COVID world. And with everything that we are seeing with young Black men on television, we want to keep them motivated and centered. We want to make sure that they are not discouraged in this moment.”
Ever since Kamala Harris threw her hat into the presidential race and elected vice president of the United States, a spotlight has shined on the fact that she’s an HBCU grad (Howard University) and member of the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. These facts are not lost on the UNCF.
“Kamala has really boosted people’s awareness about HBCUs and (African American sororities) and the type of people that come out of HBCUs. HBCUS have also provided so many people from science, mathematics, and engineering programs (STEM).”
Bun B added, “We have more than enough examples to show you how beneficial an education from an HBCU can be. So, there is no reason to not be a part of an HBCU because the world is just as available to you as it is for anyone else attending any other type of university.”
New Music Buzz: Jazzy Rita Shelby’s ‘Goodbye 2020’
*SB Music presents “Goodbye 2020” a new single for the times we are in.
“Goodbye 2020” is performed by Jazzy Rita Shelby and written by Miss Shelby (ASCAP) and Eddie Lawrence Miller (BMI).
It’s the perfect anthem to end a year that has impacted the globe.
EURweb’s Jazzy Rita is also a prolific lyricist who has teamed up with Eddie Miller for “Goodbye 2020” because it was timely and convenient for the birth of a song such as this.
Eddie Miller is a coveted keyboardist & vocalist who performs regularly with Brian Culbertson and he’s the Rhodes Festival musical director. Jazzy Rita rose to notoriety as host & performer at The Starlight Jazz Serenade, an annual benefit concert in North Hollywood with an A list of stars. As a teen Miss Shelby was inspired to write songs by the legendary David Porter.
This year has been a year like no other. “Goodbye 2020” is an ode to the world for the year that we have seen and the hope that lies ahead. Radio Programmers click here for adds.
“Goodbye 2020” is released on the SB Music label and was recorded at Wishing Wells Studio in Canoga Park, CA. Willie Daniels and Mildred Black perform background vocals along with Jazzy Rita. The video is produced & directed by Jazzy Rita (LaRita Shelby), filmed & edited by Reggie Simon of Simon Vision Media, with wardrobe styling by Jazzy Rita and Poet Roni Girl’s Army Couture. “Goodbye 2020” is available on most digital platforms. Click here to listen on Spotify.
Celebrate Halloween with ‘Spell’ Starring Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine and John Beasley / WATCH
*Today/TONIGHT is Halloween and what could be a more perfect way to celebrate than with the release of SPELL? Enjoy the clips below to get you in the spooky spirit!
Omari Hardwick (“Power,” Sorry to Bother You), Loretta Devine (“Black-ish,” Crash) and John Beasley (The Sum of All Fears, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) star in the terrifying thriller SPELL, coming to Premium Video-On-Demand and Digital today October 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
While flying to his father’s funeral in rural Appalachia, an intense storm causes Marquis (Omari Hardwick) to lose control of the plane carrying him and his family. He awakens wounded, alone and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Loretta Devine) attic, who claims she can nurse him back to health with the Boogity, a Hoodoo figure she has made from his blood and skin. Unable to call for help, Marquis desperately tries to outwit and break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.
DIRECTED BY | Mark Tonderai
SCREENPLAY BY | Kurt Wimmer
STARRING | Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, John Beasley
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS | Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, DirecTV, VUDU, Xfinity, FandangoNOW and more.
Rating | R – violence, disturbing/bloody images, and language
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