Just like the rest of the world, Filipinos mourned the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, regarding the fatal helicopter crash as one of global tragic events that made January 2020 a month that made a lot of people suffer.
In the Twitter trending topic “Grabe January”, Filipinos listed down what they believe as the events that already caused grief and sufferings right at the first month of the year.
Included on the list are the Australia bush fire and other wildfires, the rise of the deadly novel coronavirus (or 2019-nCoV), the Iran-US tussle, the eruption of Taal Volcano, the numerous earthquakes, and the death of the player known globally as Black Mamba. Avid followers of James Reid and Nadine Lustre also included the JaDine breakup on the list.
Filipinos vented their frustration over what they said as “very long” and bad start for the year in the topic ‘Grabe January’ on Monday (January 27).
Filipinos love Kobe Bryant, 41, especially since they had close encounters with him on numerous occasions.
Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday along with daughter Gianna and several others, had at least six official visits to the Philippines during his National Basketball Association (NBA) career. His first visit was in August 1998 and wowed the fans at the old Araneta Coliseum with his awesome dunks. He returned in September 2007, July 2009, July 2011, August 2013, and June 2016.
The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), the premier professional basketball league in the Philippines, expressed its grief and gave tribute to the Black Mamba in a statement.
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, in a statement, said:
“The PBA has lost a dear friend in Kobe Bryant who leaves behind fond memories of seven unforgettable visits to our country. Kobe was an exceptional basketball player but beyond his athletic skills, he was known for his caring heart and love of family. His life was an inspiration and a lesson to everyone that with hard work, dedication, and self-sacrifice, nothing is impossible. At 41, Kobe is gone too soon but his legacy will last forever. The PBA mourns the passage of a man who has touched the lives of millions. Rest in peace, Kobe.”
Kobe, in one of his visits to the Philippines, also played alongside other NBA stars in a game versus the Philippine national team that was preparing for the FIBA Asia Qualifiers.