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Kobe Bryant tributes: How the NBA and beyond are paying respect

Kobe and Gianna Bryant, John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah and Payton Chester, and Ara Zobayan were killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.

LOS ANGELES — There are few people in life who truly live up to the term iconic.

Kobe Bryant was one of the few.

He retired in 2016 as an NBA legend, winning five championships in his 20-year career that saw him finish near the top of some of the game’s most coveted leaderboards. He capped his career with an exclamation point: scoring 60 points in his final game.  

His celebrity status reached far beyond the sports world, however. Like Madonna or Cher, he needed only one name to be identified.

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To many, Kobe was a hero; An invincible titan who proved that even the seemingly impossible was achievable.

When he, his daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, there was a sense of disbelief as made evident by the ensuing reaction on social media.

But when the news sank in, tributes poured out.

On Friday, ESPN reported the NBA will honor those who died in the crash at the All-Star Game on Feb. 16.

Among them were John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and Ara Zobayan. To learn more about them, click here.

NBA All-Stars will wear either 24 or 2 on their jerseys, according to ESPN. Kobe’s jersey number was 24 in the latter half of his career. His daughter Gianna, who was widely reported as an emerging basketball star in her own right, wore the number 2.

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To further honor Kobe and Gianna, as well as the seven other lives lost, patches with nine stars will be worn on the All-Star jerseys.

The NBA’s tribute is just the latest of many

A quick search on Twitter will reveal how the world is reacting to the tragedy.

Murals have been unveiled in cities across the country, artists have tediously crafted stunning portraits, celebrities have penned heart-wrenching memories, late-night hosts put a temporary pause on their familiar comedy bits, sports franchises have played tributes on their jumbotrons, landmarks have been illuminated in purple and gold, and Alicia Keys opened the Grammy Awards with a heartfelt message at the Staples Center, “the house that Kobe Bryant built.”

Below are some of the ways the world is honoring Kobe and Gianna Bryant, John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and Ara Zobayan.

Credit: Orlando Sanchez
Mural in Los Angeles to honor Kobe and Gianna Bryant
Credit: Orlando Sanchez
Fans attending the game will receive T-shirts honoring Kobe Bryant.
Credit: AP
Artists put on the finishing touches on a giant mural of former NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna at a basketball court in Taguig, south of Manila, Philippines on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Credit: Kelli Pearson/New Ground Technology
Kelli Pearson and her husband created this massive grass tribute to Kobe Bryant at a local park in Pleasanton, California. They used special technology that bends grass to make up the light and dark contrast.

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