An outpouring of love was shown by Pinoys after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. Philippines is a basketball crazy-nation, so it was no surprise that social media feeds of Filipinos were filled with people both lamenting his untimely death and celebrating his inspiring life.
Bryant, 31, and his daughter Gianna Maria Onore, 13, were among the nine people who perished Sunday morning. On the way to the basketball camp of Mamba Sports Academy, the helicopter transporting them crashed, instantly killing everyone on board.
Celebrating a legacy
Kobe first visited Manila in 1998, shortly after his NBA debut. The basketball superstar visited the Philippines over half a dozen times in total; last visiting in 2016 a few months after he retired from the NBA.
Several Filipino personalities expressed their disbelief in the untimely passing of the basketball legend. Most, however, decided to celebrate his amazing life.
One example was Senator Manny Pacquiao, who said that the “impact and legacy he leaves behind will last forever.”
— Manny Pacquiao (@MannyPacquiao) January 26, 2020
Several professional basketball players also expressed their disbelief of Bryant’s untimely passing. Former Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena said that Kobe was one of the reasons he decided to play the sport.
Lost for words. No the news i wanted to hear when i woke up. 😭 Life’s short man. Appreciate everybody around you to the fullest! Do not take anything for granted. You were one of the reasons i played the sport, Kobe. You are the reason why i want to be great. 😭 https://t.co/pvYRWd4Zm9
— Kiefer Ravena (@kieferravena) January 26, 2020
“The basketball world has lost one of its legendary greats” – Palace
The Office of the President also released a statement, joining in the mourning of Filipinos.
“Mr. Bryant was a frequent visitor in the Philippines. He was well-loved by his Filipino fans,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo.
“On the hard court, he was a sight to behold with his dexterity and accuracy in sinking that ball in the ring. He was a master of his craft. The basketball world has lost one of its legendary greats.”
“The Palace extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends, colleagues, loved ones and fans around the globe who Kobe left behind. We share in their grief.”
On the death of Kobe BryantThe Office of the President is saddened after learning about the tragic news of the death…
The House of Kobe
Meanwhile, just hours before the crash, a new basketball hall opened in the Philippines, which was named in his honor.
Congressman Eric Martinez, who is behind what they call “The House of Kobe,” was shocked by the news of the tragic accident.
“I can’t understand it. Just 12 hours’ gap from ribbon cutting and hearing the news,” said Martinez.
“Everyone has been fighting back tears today. This is a basketball-loving nation.”
📸 Resty Castro pic.twitter.com/g1pJ1AJJEU
— Valenzuela City (@valenzuelacity) January 27, 2020
The decision to name it after Kobe was made just last week, as they were inspired by Bryant’s mantra of upward social mobility.
The walls of the new basketball court is now filled with messages to the NBA legend.
“Always be a legend,” said a message. “Rest in paradise my hero,” said another.