Pro basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday in helicopter crash in Southern California, was a practicing Catholic who credited his Catholic faith for helping him through the toughest times in his life.
Following Bryant’s death on Sunday, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) published an article detailing “The Catholic Faith of Kobe Bryant,” in which CNA reports that Bryant was married in the Catholic Church, regularly attended mass with his wife at a parish in Orange County, California and, reportedly, attended mass on the morning of his death.
“Bryant was raised in a Catholic family, and spent much of his childhood living in Italy. He married in 2001 in a Southern California parish,” CNA reports.
Bryant relied on his Catholic faith as he dealt with, and sought to find peace after having been accused of sexual assault in 2003 – an accusation he denied, though he eventually issued an apology and agreed to a civil lawsuit settlement.
Bryant, who retired in 2016 following a stellar twenty-year career with the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers, had been dedicated to community service, helping the homeless and poor, the article explains:
“Bryant also had connected his Catholic faith to a family commitment to help the poor, through the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation. The foundation helped fund youth homeless shelters and other projects aimed at serving the poor.”
In two tweets following Bryant’s death Sunday, Los Angeles' Archbishop Jose Gomez paid tribute to Bryant and shared the Catholic News Agency article, calling Bryant’s life story “one of redemption and trust in God.”