Rives Mansion Remember Kobe Bryant

Andre Lucas, Co-Copy Editor

On Jan. 29, the City of Downey paid tribute to former NBA basketball legend Kobe Bryant at the Rives Mansion, hosted by its owners Arturo Concha and Ericka De La Teja. Fans from all over Downey came to pay their respects to the basketball superstar, his daughter Gianna, and the other seven passengers that perished on board his helicopter that crashed on Sunday, Jan. 26 in Calabasas, Calif. The event also featured guest speakers who opened up the crowd about what Bryant meant to themselves as well as the community.


From Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Downey, Father Lorenzo Miranda gave his thoughts on the death of Bryant and the eight other deceased passengers as well as a message of hope to those who have been left distraught as a result of this tragedy.


“Kobe was a man of faith. He went to church that morning. He was in church praying that morning, and we believe in the Resurrection,” Father Miranda said. “Yeah there’s sadness in dying. There’s always going to be sadness in facing death,  but we also have this really profound peace and joy because we know … they’re very close to God right now, Kobe and his daughter, and all these people, and any of our loved ones who passed away.”


Local attorney and member of the Downey High football alumni, Gavril Gabriel, explained the impact Kobe Bryant had on him in his youth as well as how he thinks the former basketball player should be remembered.


“Growing up here in Downey, as an athlete, I idolized Kobe Bryant because of his tenacity, his competitiveness, his fierceness, his drive to win, and his will to win, but that’s not how we should remember Kobe Bryant,” Gabriel stated. “We should remember Kobe Bryant for the type of man he was off the court. He was the father of four children, a husband, a son, who wanted his daughters, his children to have the same opportunities he did.”


Local business owner and a staunch fan of Kobe Bryant, Simon Simonian, shed light on how he feels as a result of losing someone he admired as well as how Bryant’s death brings people together.


“Words just don’t describe how I felt that morning and how I’ve felt since that morning,” Simonian stated. “Think if you pass by Staples Center you can see millions of people that share our grief, our sorrow on such a quick passing of Kobe Bean Bryant, and his daughter Gianna.”


Finally, the co-owner of the Rives Mansion, Art Concha, closed the event in putting into words how he became a fan of Kobe Bryant as well as the impact Bryant has had on him as a father.


“I wasn’t the biggest Kobe fan when he was a player, but I became a very big fan of his after he retired actually. I have four daughters just like he does, and I strived to be a father like he was. He paid a lot of attention to his kids: four beautiful girls, and I admire him being a father, son, and an amazing businessman,” Concha said. “He had a good heart. He helped a lot of people so after his retirement, I really looked up to him and actually, he was a mentor to a lot of people.”


Despite the tragedy that resulted in the end of the life of Kobe Bryant, the City of Downey was brought together by grief for Bryant and the victims killed on that helicopter.