USA TODAY Sports is marking the first anniversary of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others with a six-day series of stories, photos and videos looking back at the Lakers legend and the aftermath of his death.
LOS ANGELES – As I stood in line at the cash register of a clothing store, I received a text message that would mark the beginning of a tumultuous year in 2020. It would also mark the beginning of a day that pains me just as much nearly a year later.
On Jan. 26, 2020 at 11:29 a.m. PT, a friend sent a TMZ story that reported former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash followed with three crying emojis.
I stared at my phone screen in shock. I refused to click on the link because I feared it might be a virus. I also feared the news might be true. So, I just stood there staring at my phone. The cashier could have charged me thousands of dollars for a handful of clothes. I would have neither noticed nor cared.
Instead, I reflected immediately on a sit-down interview I had with Bryant in his office in Costa Mesa, California, nine days earlier. Bryant spoke extensively on how he pivoted almost seamlessly from a storied 20-year…