Sportress of Blogitude

TIME reveals commemorative Kobe Bryant cover

The upcoming issue of TIME magazine will feature a powerful image of Kobe Bryant on its cover to acknowledge his tragic death at 41 years old.

The cover tribute to Bryant, which features a photograph of the NBA icon facing away from the camera while wearing his No. 24 Los Angeles Lakers jersey and holding a basketball with his head bowed, is a striking image. The years of Bryant’s birth and death are the only other aspects to the remarkable cover.

The cover image above was shared on social media by Sean Gregory, who also penned the feature story on Bryant in the issue.

Entitled, “‘He Was Going to Do Great Things.’ Why Many Believed the Best Was Ahead of Kobe Bryant,” the piece explores how Bryant’s death has not only shook the entire NBA community, but has resonated worldwide as well.

“The loss was one of the most stunning in the history of sports and global celebrity that Bryant had done so much to fuse,” Gregory writes. “To many, it was as if a vein had been opened. NBA players wept publicly. On Weibo, one of China’s largest social networks, the hashtag for Bryant’s death drew nearly 2.5 billion views in a day.”

The article goes on to contemplate the sobering realization that the second stage of Bryant’s life — filled with so much promise with his business interests, other pursuits and most importantly his devotion to his family — was cut short in such a senseless manner.

Bryant perished in a helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas, Calif., along with eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. The cause of the accident remains under investigation, but weather is expected to be determined as a major contributing factor.

One can only imagine how those who were closest to Kobe — not to mention friends, family and loved ones left behind by those who also lost their lives — are still attempting to make some sense out of Sunday’s heartbreaking events amid their unimaginable grief.