Coney Island pays tribute to Kobe Bryant

February 1, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
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Parachute Jump lit in Lakers colors

CONEY ISLAND — Coney Island paid tribute to basketball player Kobe Bryant on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

In memory of the legendary hoopster, who died along with his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday, Jan. 26, the area’s famous Parachute Jump was lit up purple and gold, the colors of the Lakers, the team Bryant played with for 20 years. In addition, the iconic structure bore Bryant’s number 24, which he donned at the beginning of the 2006 NBA season.

“On behalf of the entire community and staff at Luna Park in Coney Island, we would like to express our deepest condolences to the Bryant family and all of the families affected by Sunday’s tragic accident,” Luna Park — which organized the Parachute Jump lighting — told this paper in a statement. “The Parachute Jump in Coney Island was lit in purple and yellow colors for the last few days as a tribute to Kobe Bryant and to signify the light that he has illuminated on the world throughout his legendary career.”

Locals were surprised to see the tribute and took video of it to share on social media. The tribute went viral and was noticed by ABC News.

Across the borough, on Wednesday, Jan. 29, in the first game they played at Barclays Center following the crash, the Brooklyn Nets also paid tribute to Bryant, leaving empty the two seats that Bryant and his daughter occupied during a December game, with flowers in each of them. The organization also aired a video in which the names of the nine people who perished in the crash were listed, with highlights of Bryant’s career featured and a 24-second moment of silence.

Image courtesy of YES Network
Barclays Center’s tribute to Kobe and Gianna Bryant

“He left a lot of teachings, a lot of breadcrumbs as I call them, and I followed all of them,” Nets guard Kyrie Irving said after the game. “That probably pays a lot of focus into the person I am today.”

“It’s hard to keep going right now but as a basketball community and as the world as a whole, I know we’re all just mourning and sticking together,” added Nets forward Kevin Durant.

Image: YES Network
The nine people who died in the helicopter accident that claimed the life of Lakers great Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.

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