The shock of Jan. 26 returns every time the faces of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, flash across a screen in smiles and winces and smirks and mean mugs. It is still hard to believe they are gone, even now, four weeks after they and seven others died in that helicopter crash. Those faces, so full of live and vitality, they are frozen in time.
In a way, however it heartrending it may be, they are still here. Bryant’s achievements ensured they will live forever in the minds of millions who never met him and the hearts of those who loved them. They may be mere memories now, but there is some saving grace in a career chronicled on screen.
We have these images to look back on, to hold onto, to carry on. So, here, on the eve of a memorial service in honor of the Bryants and their friends at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, we collected dozens of the most iconic photographs of the future Hall of Famer in a slideshow tribute to one of the game’s greats, whose career introduced us to Gianna and her to a passion that bonded them.
Take solace in the shock of those flashing faces giving way to an appreciation that endures.
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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach