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On Sunday (Jan. 26), a helicopter carrying families, which included Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, crashed in Calabasas, California. All nine people onboard were pronounced dead. As investigators continue to decipher the exact cause of the tragic incident, the sports legend’s supporters are pushing for his likeness to always remain a part of the sport he dominated.
A change.org petition has received over a million signatures to encourage the National Basketball Association (NBA) to change its logo to feature Bryant. Currently, former professional basketball player Jerry West remains as the league’s logo. West was also a Los Angeles Laker.
Michael Jones, the organization’s managing director, shared that the petition has grounds to memorialize Bryant in a sport he changed forever. "Nick's petition is not only the fastest-growing on Change.org, it's also the first petition of 2020 to top 1 million signatures anywhere in the globe," Jones said in a statement. "As the world comes to terms with the death of someone as famous and well-known as Kobe Bryant, Nick has given basketball fans an outlet to create a permanent memory of someone who made history in the NBA."
As noted by The Undefeated, today also marks 23 years since Bryant, at age 18, became the youngest player to start a game.
Jan. 28, 1997
Kobe Bryant becomes the youngest player -- at 18 years, five months and five days -- to start an NBA game. pic.twitter.com/wA9mCqNORm
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) January 28, 2020
According to CNN, the pilot received Special VFR Clearance (SVFR) to fly the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter due to weather conditions. The helicopter left from John Wayne Airport near Irvine, Calif., on its destination to Thousand Oaks where Gianna and her two teammates were expected to play a basketball game.
This story appeared in the April 2000 issue of VIBE, months before he won his first of five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. Written by Isaac Paris
Okay, Sherlock, we know Kobe Bryant is way past the verge of stardom. As an all-star shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, he gets thousands of fans screaming with excitement every other night. Bryant's baseline drives are as smooth as Nate Dogg's vocals, and his slam dunks bump like a gritty bass line from a DJ Premier track.
Now, with his debut rap album, Visions (Columbia), due in March, the 21-year-old is poised to follow in the footsteps of teammate Shaquille O'Neal (who he occasionally exchanges verses with in the locker room) and prove that his skills aren't limited to flying above the rim. Although Bryant realizes that being the man on the hardwood is no guarantee that you can actually hold it down in the studio (NBA stars/inept MCs like Gary Payton and Jason Kidd can attest to that), Visions proves his wordsmith capabilities are ample enough to allow him to play with the big dogs.
"People are gonna be surprised," Bryant says self-assuredly. "Toward the latter stages [of recording], I was real comfortable. I was like, 'I got this sh*t!'" In fact, tonight in his Milwaukee hotel room––on the eve of a game against the Bucks––Bryant's more pressed with defending the unproven mike skills of his homegirl that he is his own.
"Tyra can sing," he says of supermodel Tyra Banks, who makes her singing debut on Visions' first single, the buoyant "K.O.B.E." Destiny's Child, the Roots' Black Thought, 50 Cent, and Beanie Sigel also support the hoopster on the CD.
"The album is pretty hard. People expect me to come a little more commercial than I did," says Bryant. "At first it was all battle raps, but I really wanted to give the total picture of what was going on around me, like money, jewelry, women, and trust issues."
Nevertheless, money, hoes, and clothes aren't the only things this player knows. He also knows how to win. The following night, after No. 8 scores 22 points as the Lakers thrash the Bucks, he's convinced he'll be just as successful rapping as he is playing on his championship-contending team. "[On the mic] you want respect. If I want something I'm gonna get it. Just buy the album and see for yourself."
There are many factors that go into winning a Grammy, the most coveted music prize of the industry. It’s more than “is the song good?” Sometimes it’s based on campaigning, other times it’s based on what voters feel should be the industry standard. However, the fun doesn’t come until after the ceremony, where all the winners have been revealed and it’s time to process what it all means for the larger picture and the future of recording.
The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards was met with controversy this year thanks to a lawsuit against the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences from ousted CEO, Deborah Dugan. Through her explosive claims and allegations, the voting process has gotten even less transparent— and we’re left with more questions and mysteries than answers. Still, artists and media moved forward, and the focus has temporarily shifted back to the music and the awards.
Here are 11 takeaways from VIBE that capture the essence of key wins (and snubs) at the Grammy Awards.