Mourning The Loss of Kobe Bryant - A Man Who Made A Difference

Here's how you can memorialize NBA great Kobe Bryant through the charities he supported.

Basketball fans are mourning the loss of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant as a one-of-a-kind basketball player. But the many people whose lives he touched are mourning him as a tireless supporter of children, dedicated to helping youth and families in need in the US and around the world.

Bryant visits students on a cultural visit to China through an LA afterschool program he supported.Project Peng You

Bryant died today along with his daughter Gianna as they headed to her travel basketball game aboard a helicopter that crashed in Calabasas, CA. ESPN reports everyone on board was killed including another player and parent, and the pilot.

Bryant's generosity with his time and treasure is well known. He and his wife established The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation to fund the many organizations they support, including After-School All-Stars , one of the largest free school-based after-school programs the country, serving nearly 100,000 children.

"I used to hear it all the time when I was a kid. Stay focused. Education is the key," said Bryant during a visit to a Los Angeles middle school All-Stars program. "But when you're a kid it never really sinks in unless you're in an environment where that all comes to fruition," explaining why he believed after-school programming is so important to our youth today.

YouTube/After-School All-Stars

After-School All-Stars is just one way you can honor Bryant's memory by supporting causes he thought were important. Click here to learn how to donate.

Aid Still Required is another charity Bryant supported. It was founded to champion forgotten issues and people left behind after natural disasters and other crises, when the world has turned its attention to other matters.

Make-A-Wish was also a charity Bryant lent his name to. He supported the organization's vision to to grant the wishes of children diagnosed with critical illnesses.

Stand Up To Cancer is a non-profit aims to raise money for cancer researchers and scientists to come together and reach their common goal: the cure for cancer. Bryant participated in their annual all-TV-network telethons.

With gymnast Gabby Douglas at Stand Up To Cancer in 2012.Kobe Facebook page

Vijay Amritraj Foundation was founded to bring hope, help and healing to the defenseless and innocent victims of disease, tragedy and circumstance in India. Bryant supported the foundations effort to establish homes for orphans and job-training programs for underprivileged women.

Bryant's legacy will also live on in the three books he co-authored aimed at bringing wisdom to young adults through characters who overcome obstacles by recognizing their strengths. These include Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof, released in December, and Legacy and the Queen, released last fall. All are available in stores and on popular internet booksellers.

Posing with copies of Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof last fall.Kobe Facebook page

Bryant expressed his excitement over the release of Legacy and the Queen, a story about a young tennis player from the poor side of the fantasy kingdom where she lives, who uses her powers to save the kingdom. In a Facebook post he wrote: "Sports stories can serve as the greatest metaphors for life. Legacy and the Queen will teach kids lessons in perseverance, commitment, hard work, compassion, and empathy, the same disciplines and principles that I try to instill in my daughters everyday."

"I hope [the book] inspires you to find that magical light within to guide you thru the dark." -- Kobe Bryant

We hope Bryant's life does the same for all of the people who loved, admired, and took inspiration from him. RIP Kobe Bryant.

Promoting Legacy and the Queen, his fantasy book about a young tennis player.Kobe Facebook page

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