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Black Mamba: Champion in Repose

By Emmanuel Rivera, RRT
PhilBoxing.com
Sat, 01 Feb 2020



Philippine Senator Emmanuel “Manny Pacquiao, along with Filipinos, the boxing and NBA writers, photographers and contributors at PhilBoxing.com by way of our editor-in-chief Mr. Dong Secuya, bid Mr. Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers a fond but sad farewell. Our condolences to the victims’ families.

San Leandro, California  -- Champions and mere mortals like us mourn similarly.

We grieve the loss of a friend, family and loved ones in so many ways with or without time constraints, self-imposed or otherwise.

It just gets a little confusing when it comes to someone we’ve never personally knew or met. 

The feeling of loss and abandonment is a common theme, just the same.

We’ve all lost someone dear in our lifetime, and it is with hope that we (at any given time) “assist” those who are coping worse than we are.



Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao joins the boxing and sports world in sharing heartfelt thoughts on @MannyPacquiao (Twitter).

“The world lost a legend today but the impact and legacy he leaves behind will last forever." #RIPMamba.

Last Sunday, January 26th, NBA great Kobe Bryant, his 13-year old daughter Gianna and seven other passengers were en route to a basketball invitational when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California. 

The tragedy came one day after Bryant was passed by Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James for third place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. 


@KobeBryant

“As late as 10:39 p.m. ET Saturday, Bryant was active on social media, congratulating James on Twitter during the Lakers' 108-91 loss to the Philadelphia Sixers,” Ramona Shelburne of ESPN News Service reported.


(Photo courtesy of NBC, Los Angeles).

“All nine victims have been positively identified by the medical examiners.The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner announced Wednesday that it has confirmed, following "round-the-clock testing and analysis of DNA," that Gianna Bryant, 13; Payton Chester, 13; Alyssa Altobelli, 14; Keri Altobelli, 46; and Christina Mauser, 38, were killed in the crash. The medical examiner had previously confirmed the identities of Bryant, 41; John Altobelli, 56; Sarah Chester, 45; and the pilot, Ara Zobayan, 50,” CNN reported.


(Kobe Bryant with Muhammad Ali and Ali's wife Lonnie Ali)


@MikeTyson

“I mourn with the world.  Lost a legend. No words. I’m messed up.  RIP @kobebryant, Gianna and the rest of the passengers.”


@LarryHolmes75

“We lost a great man and young lady far too soon! My condolences to the Bryant family and other families who have suffered a loss in this tragic event. “
#RIPMamba #legend
  🙏🏾


@RyanSongalia

“Both of them, so full of life. I suppose it’s a marker of our humanity and empathy that we can feel, but some things are just too much to process...Of all the players who were popular in the Philippines, never saw anyone get as much love as Kobe Bryant. It was over the top how much they adored him, they painted him on sides of jeepneys, the country went wild whenever he was in Manila.”


@SteveAngeles (via BalitangAmerica.TV)

“For us Filipinos, we will always appreciate how @kobebryant took @JordanClarkson under his wings during JC’s early Laker years and even up til today.”

#mambamentality 👊🏼🔥🐍🇵🇭🏀 #Puso instagram.com/p/B7zYfQYhLn9/…


Courtesy of Jhay Oh Otamias, Photojournalist @PhilBoxing.com
“Thanks, Kobe…Philippines”


Courtesy of Leilani Fe Timbang (circa 1998-2001 at the University of California, Santa Barbara)

Robert Lyons shares his heartfelt personal text and memorial which he also posted on his Facebook page.

KOBE BEAN BRYANT 
August 23,1978 - January 26, 2020
By Robert Lyons



We first met in October 1996 at Los Angeles International Airport. 

Kobe had just graduated high school a few months earlier and was 18 years old and now playing for Los Angeles Lakers. As I had done for the six previous seasons, I was part of the Lakers family and arranging the air charter transportation for the teams travel during the entire season. There were also the many flights to All-Star games and the NBA championship finals.

I was so fortunate to witness in person hundreds of his games throughout the Continental United States, Hawaii, London and Barcelona.




During the past 24 years, I was able to witness the teenage kid from Philadelphia grow into a world-famous sports superstar to a devoted family man who loved his children and wife. 

When I received my first text message regarding the tragic news as I walked into the USC women’s basketball game versus Washington to see my good friend’s daughter play, it really has been heartbreaking.

Watching the news the past few days with all the memories going through my mind I fully realize how fortunate I was to have met him and watch him play.




I did find some peace and going to his memorial at is home in Newport Beach.

All nine passengers on the helicopter lived within 20 miles (32 km.) of my home.     

The pilot and one of the coaches lived in my town of Huntington Beach. 

It has really hit close to home.

May they all rest in peace and may we always keep all the family members,
friends and the entire Lakers family in our prayers forever. 

I’m thankful and grateful that Kobe Bryant has stepped into our lives and truly has made a difference.

R.I.P. My friend I will never forget the flights, the games and all the memories.

Thanks for touching my life.

You will be missed and your spirit will always live on and will never be forgotten.

May God continue to watch over your family and guide them throughout life.


--------------------------

Notes:
As a sports fan and aspiring reporter, I’ve never met Kobe Bryant. Sadly, I never will. 

Meeting Robert “Bob” Lyons, a close friend of the Bryant family, has been a great honor. His stories about the Black Mamba will more than suffice. I look forward to sharing good times ahead with Bob Lyons, Helena Buscema and Carl Roberts.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Emmanuel Rivera, RRT.

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