Kobe Bryant wasn’t in the bubble with the Los Angeles Lakers last fall when they won the NBA championship. He wasn’t at the All-Star weekend in Chicago where half the players wore his number on their uniforms, the other half wearing his daughter’s jersey number. He wasn’t there to hear the Basketball Hall of Fame announced that his career was worthy of enshrinement.
Yet his presence was so clearly felt in each of those moments.
Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the other seven people who climbed aboard that helicopter on a Sunday morning in Southern California have been gone for exactly one year now — Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives.