Kobe Bryant’s passing has had an undeniable impact on pop culture across the board, with some now comparing it to the death of Princess Diana. On Tuesday’s episode of UNDISPUTED, Shannon Sharpe made the case that Bryant had the same cultural impact as the late princess. Fans were split about whether or not they agreed.
Sharpe and his co-hosts were discussing Monday’s “Celebration of Life” memorial for Bryant, and remarking on his legacy. Sharpe pointed out the massive coverage the story has gotten, saying he cannot remember a celebrity death hitting the world this hard since the death of Princess Diana in 1997.
“The only thing I can remember like this from the last 25 years was the death of Princess Diana,” he said. “They ran this on CNN uninterrupted! CNN doesn’t do sports. I mean, here and there they might do a sports story, but it goes to show you… A basketball player? Goes to show you Kobe Bryant was more than a basketball player.”
“The only thing I can remember like this from the last 25 years was the death of Princess Diana… A basketball player? Goes to show you Kobe Bryant was more than a basketball player.”
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) February 25, 2020
Some fans thought that Sharpe had hit the nail on the head with this analogy, agreeing that Bryant’s death was as shocking and as impactful as that of the former British princess.
“I’m gonna have to agree with Shannon on this one. Great comparison,” one person tweeted.
“Agreed!! A Human like Kobe is not easy to come around, Glad I was able to witness it in my lifetime!!” added another.
I agree and disagree because everyone saw Micheal Jackson spinning at his tails end. He looked out of it in his final years. Diana and Kobe were killed and weren’t a part of the method of their own destruction.
— مَها (@mxhxbxl) February 25, 2020
Others thought Sharpe was overlooking some other heartbreaking celebrity deaths that fell on the scale between Bryant and Princess Diana. Multiple people responded with GIFs of Michael Jackson, including one of Jackson hugging Nelson Mandela. One user even proposed that Paul Walker’s death was more impactful than that of Bryant.
Bryant was killed in a tragic helicopter crash on Sunday, Jan. 26 at the age of 41. He was flying with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, two of her teenage basketball teammates and five other adults. There were no survivors in the crash.
Bryant and Gianna were commemorated on Monday in a massive memorial service at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. The ceremony included a performance by Beyonce, speeches by other NBA stars and even a eulogy from Bryant’s widow, Vanessa.
— Soso_official (@Sosoofficial1) February 25, 2020
“God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to him together,” Vanessa said of her late husband and daughter. “Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nati, Bibi and Koko. We’re still the best team. We love and miss you, Boo Boo and Gigi.”
“May you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day,” she went on. “We love you both and miss you. Forever and always, Mommy.”