PLBC reflects on deceased NBA star Kobe Bryant’s legacy, leads effort to pass resolution

HARRISBURG, Jan. 30 – Following the death of NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who were among 9 people killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, along with caucus members, reflected on the Pennsylvania native’s legacy and his activism, and spearhead bi-partisan effort to have Bryant’s memory etched in the state’s legislative record by way of a House resolution.

“Lives were lost, and families are mourning. A wife and mother is mourning the loss of her husband and child; siblings are reeling from the loss of their father and sister,” Kinsey said. “Across the globe, our nation and in our commonwealth -- where Kobe grew up -- young children are trying to comprehend the death of a world-famous athlete, a role model they innocently thought was immortal.

“Through basketball, Kobe inspired, unified and uplifted people around the world. As chairman of a legislative body that tirelessly advocates for policy that is inclusive and demands fairness for black lives across our commonwealth, I especially appreciate Kobe using his celebrity platform for his activism to elevate black voices by unapologetically wearing a ‘I can’t breathe’ shirt, compelling everyone to recognize our humanity and the pervasive culture of police brutality,” he said.

State Rep. Edward C. Gainey, D-Allegheny, concurred with the PLBC chairman, adding, “The death of Kobe and his daughter is a tragedy. I pray for the families of Kobe and the others involved. We all know the importance of family and the love we share with our families. We lost a sports icon who opened the door for so many people. We pray for his wife, Vanessa, and the other families who lost a loved one in this tragic situation.” 

Because of Bryant’s philanthropy, activism and record-shattering performances, Kinsey introduced a resolution honoring his life and legacy.

“Kobe was a legendary athlete and his humanitarian endeavors reveal his humility and devotion to use his platform to serve others,” the chairman said. “He’s not only a treasure to the world, but he’s Pennsylvania’s special treasure, which is why I introduced this resolution that has gained bipartisan support. We must emblazon his memory into our state’s history.”

Acknowledging the complexities of Bryant and his legacy, state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., said, "The complex life and death of Kobe Bryant should be celebrated, while we mourn the tragic loss of this legendary Philadelphian and all who perished on that day. Our chamber regularly recognizes the greatness of Pennsylvanians, and on the day that we commemorate the life of Kobe Bryant with this resolution, this House will honor a great life and legacy with great sadness and respect. "