This Tuesday, January 26, marks one year since Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people tragically died in a helicopter crash. No area of the country was more impacted by this catastrophe than Los Angeles, where Bryant played his entire illustrious NBA career with the Lakers and just a few miles north of where the fateful helicopter took off that fateful foggy morning.
The Los Angeles Times honored Braynt and Gianna by commissioning a mural of the two, which they used as their cover photo for the sports section today. Created by local painter Constance Brantley, it's vibrant, intricate and emotional, perfectly encapsulating the contrast between their life and death.
The story accompanying the mural was an oral history of the moments leading up to and following the helicopter crash. A strong piece to be sure, but after months of pouring over the details of what happened and what went wrong, the mural spoke louder to me.
It's raw and authentic. The colors are lively, the messages somber. It's the contrast of memory versus reality. We want them to be alive -- all of them, not just Kobe and Gianna. They seem so tangible in the mural. Yet reality is not as sweet.
While the murals of Kobe and Gianna fade with time, their memories will not. They will live on forever, and occasionally we'll be touched by a new remembrance that emphasizes the vibrancy of their lives and the heartbreak of their loss.