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On January 26th, father of four, Kobe Bryant, and eight other people (including one of his daughters) were killed when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed. We would hope there’s no one on earth who wouldn’t agree it was a tragic loss for his family, and the families and loved ones of those traveling with him.

Kobe Bryant also happened to be one of the most recognized professional athletes in the world. During his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant won five NBA championships, was an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, 12-time member of the All-Defensive Team, was named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), and was a two-time NBA Finals MVP winner. You don’t achieve all that without grit, determination, hard work and talent.

Kobe Bryant was an American success story, and we noted his loss on our social media.

Some people who follow our posts thought we should not have called him a “hero.”

We thought we should respond.


Nine Line Apparel was founded by patriots for patriots. We are relentlessly patriotic, and unashamed to be.

We aim to reinvigorate the sense of patriotism and national pride that seems to be disappearing daily from our society. Where politics and dissent divide our country, we hope to inspire unity and brotherhood among all Americans as patriots under our common flag.

Nine Line is also relentless in our support of those who have and continue to serve honorably as members of the military, police, fire department, or any other public service.

We support a multitude of initiatives beyond raising awareness and financially back organizations that help those in need. From first responders to military charities to disaster relief initiatives, Nine Line is committed to the ongoing support of charitable initiatives on behalf of those who have served their country, on both foreign and domestic soil.

At Nine Line, we know that only united can the American people fight injustice and preserve our freedom and independence.

Part of what unites us as Americans is our admiration and appreciation of sporting achievement among our countrymen. It’s what makes the Super Bowl one of the most-watched events every year. It’s practically a national holiday. Basketball isn’t as popular (or profitable) as football, but it is still followed by millions of Americans, who find inspiration in the big men (and women) pounding up and down the court.

Any family who suffers the loss of a loved one experiences tremendous grief and heartache. Families of those killed in the line of duty suffer even more so, because nowadays their loved ones volunteered to be there.

We honor them every day at Nine Line, in everything we produce, promote and do.

But we also felt it was appropriate to make mention of Kobe Bryant’s death. He was a legend in sports. He was a hero to those who admired his athletic abilities and his success.

Americans take pride in our star athletes, musicians, a few political leaders – heck, even an actor or two — because sharing in their accomplishments helps us get over the grind and grief of daily life.

And helps us move on. Let’s do that.



Nine Line is an American Clothing Company with American made Apparel and Accessories- Veteran Owned and Operated

82 Responses

  1. Sean

    Kobe is the perfect nine line athlete. He was so proud to represent the USA in the Olympics. He was the first to sign up and others followed. Plus he was the unquestioned leader of those teams of fellow superstars. He was also seen st many other Olympic events cheering on lesser known American athletes.

  2. Patrick

    More importantly, what made him a “hero” is how he turned his behavior around after the sex assault accusation against him, repented of his behavior, fixed his marriage, became involved in his church, had more kids, fought for his marriage when his wife filed for divorce 10 years later, won her back, had more kids, worked and donated to help poor kids have a chance to play sports, coached kids…

  3. Bill DeFazio

    You guys dont owe ANYBODY an explanation for your posts!! As an Army and Gulf War vet I applaud what you do and my wife and I are both members of your club!!! Side note, SHE signed us up without telling me!!! As a surprise!!! WHAT A WOMAN!!! The people that complained and cried about your post need a good swift kick… I am by NO means a basketball fan but this man was AMAZING and his family and the families of the other deserved our tributes to them!!! TIL VALHALLA BROTHERS!!!

  4. Alfredo

    Good for you… I would hate to have you back up like other big names companies that retracted due to public view… stand your ground! That’s the Warrior Spirit instilled in us all that served!

  5. Robin

    Thank you Nine Line, thank you for you’re service, thank you for supporting our country, our communities, our local hero’s. You’re humbling, compassionate response, when we lose one of our own regardless of their job as Americans is imulated by so many of us, unfortunately, we have individual’s who just don’t get it? we’ve got your six…job well done on you response, peace & respect

  6. M. Stedman

    Great athlete he was. A tragic death, it was. However, calling athletes, celebrities who donate money or stand for there own beliefs is NOT. A hero. Athletes who give up nfl career to enlist ARENT heroes either.

    Heroes are those who are either place in or chose to place themselves in deadly situations knowing the potential consequences, not for themselves, but to protect others. Acts of kindness, donating money, being a positive role model do not make one a hero. The term hero is substantially overused.

    Some would say Kobe was a great athlete, mentor, role model, father but he was not a hero. He was a rich, famous athlete who happened to die too soon and in a tragic manner. By calling him a hero, people are taking away the value of calling a true hero just that.

    While tragic, Kobe’s life was no more important to the world then anyone on that helicopter, dying from an illness or any other way. He will definitely be missed, but not as a hero. But instead as an avoidable death of a good man….

  7. Russ

    This is why I continue business with 9line. Live your mission and purpose. Keep up the good work.

  8. Anthony Kimble

    No explanation needed. Your company has always stood for America, veterans, police, firemen, and those that defend others. Those who supported you before will always support you. Keep on keeping on!

  9. Andy Garabedian

    This is very well said.
    Thank you,
    From a volunteer fireman/medic
    Retired Marine and US Army reservist

  10. Russ

    Eat a dick! Fuck that rapist! And fuck this company! Your patriotism is to money! maybe if Kobe raped your daughter you’d feel a little different. Either way fuck Kobe Bryant punk bitch never paid my bills

  11. Tommy Lindeman

    We who get it, get it. But no need to give an explanation for a human being who died with his child. Those needing an explanation don’t have a clue. Keep being the patriotic company you are. No explanation needed here.

  12. Robert

    Webster Dictionary: Hero
    1a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
    b : an illustrious warrior
    c : a person admired for achievements and noble qualities
    d : one who shows great courage

    What “great strength”, “warrior” like, “noble qualities” or “great courage” did Kobe Bryant possess? Didn’t he play a ball game really well? With a ball, right? What heroic abilities did he possess OFF the court? I am truly interested.

    And if a hero is someone that cheats on his wife, rapes a woman but pays her off to avoid court, but plays a childs game with a basketball. If heroes are ball players, what do we call men and women that risk their lives for country and freedom every single day? Are they the same?

  13. Janelle

    I looked up the word hero, as I too was told that Kobe was not a hero. The definition of a hero: a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. I believe this is Kobe. I will continued to call him a hero. My hero, for all he has done for sports, kids and basically the world. He made it a much better place by his drive and ambition. If we could only be half as good as he was great! I’m glad you called him a hero. Because he is one!

  14. Michele Dill

    Great response! I think what you do a awesome! Please keep it up! I wish you had 3xl tall shirts. The men in my house are big and we live your apparel!

  15. Douglas Johnson

    Very well said and Kobe Bryant was also on the Olympic team twice representing his country

  16. Aaron Holderfield

    Thank you for spreading good in the world. It’s sad people have to be so negative especially when it involves a tragedy such as Kobe Bryant dying. Keep kicking ass and making the rest of the veteran community proud!!! Active Duty Air Force 2004-Present

  17. Don Scott

    Great response Nine line, I proudly wear your clothes and will continue. It’s nice to see you guys know there are heroes outside of Military. Thank you for all you do.

  18. Michele

    The FREEDOM OF SPEECH..It’s an amazing right for every can agree or disagree..but no one has the right to stifle your voice. Weather you liked him or not, he was still an amazingly talented American.

  19. Darren

    Well said. Families have just lost love ones and deserve respect and support. No matter your opinion of Kobe, his wife lost a husband and child and his children lost there father and sister. To them, he was dad.

  20. Tim Taylor

    And then when he was a great best basketball player yes he also had charges for rape against women so does that make him a great man no it doesn’t it still makes him a fucking rapist

  21. Susan

    He was an inspiration on and off the court. We can use role models in all kinds of uniforms. I hope our uniformed military would agree. It reminds me a a saying, “Not better, just different.” We need all kinds of heros.

  22. S. Brown

    I agree very sad for him and his family; but he played basketball, the true heroes is our military and first responders who daily risk their life for our freedoms and way of life, god bless Kobe, friends and family.
    But a hero he was not he played a game got rich and great for him and his family; some heroes have gave their lives, some legs and arms and even eyesight for very little money and are very rarely mentioned in our media, bless the American veterans and first responders they are heroic !!!!

  23. Charles Turner

    110% agreement. Very well said. Thank you. I personally am not a basketball fan, but as a human, and as a parent, I cannot fathom the grief the widow Bryant is suffering. Nor the other family which suffered multiple losses in that tragic event. I can only offer prayers for their comfort.
    I applaud your decision.
    Charlie T.

  24. Diane

    Beautifully said. And thank you for recognizing Kobe, who was a an American we should all aspire to be!

  25. Rebecca walker

    He made some big mistakes and admitted them and worked hard to be someone better..I didnt idolize him in any way however he did show how to build thru hard work which is what it takes to be a successful American.

  26. Mary Beth

    I agree. This man was a good human being and my heart hurts for his family and all the other families that were effected by this tragedy. Some people are just bitter individuals and can’t see past their noses. That’s sad.

  27. Carl

    I think it shows that you listed Kobe by name and no one else. To many that speaks volumes. In your response all Americans and yet you list him only

  28. Michael Schrader-Nusz

    This…this right here is why I support and love your company! I am not a basketball fan and did not care for Kobe but he was still a person and someone who deserved respect for what he did in his craft and what he did off the court. He loved his family endlessly and tried to make everyone around him better. It saddens and angers me that some people think his death and those that died in the helicopter is any less then a service member. I do not understand why some veterans, active service and/ or civilians think that one death should be praised over another. Most service members do not sign and take the oath looking for fame or recognition they are looking at away to serve and give back to a country that has given them much, at least that is why I joined the United States Army. If someone did take time to read this again thank you for all you do and look forward to my February Patriots Club shirt and looks like I may have add some more shirts to my already growing collection.

  29. Lisa

    Well said. I would add that watching sporting events while deployed or stationed overseas is one way people from all backgrounds connect. Additionally, it is right to morn and acknowledge the pain of a family who have suffered such loss regardless of career path. We should all strive to be compassionate and decent human beings.

  30. Michael Leal

    Everyone Will have an opinion be it negative or admirable. It’s what we do on a daily basis to help inspire. It’s what we as Americans live and fight for each and every day. There is nothing wrong with admiring and respecting the accomplishments of any individual in any religion, culture or country. Except terrorists. They can eat a d***. You guys keep up your good deeds, i for one do not oppose those who want to show some respect to another fellow American. Watch your 6 and thanks for what you do.

  31. Carl Weston

    I wrote this piece a few years back and had it published in a national police publication. I hope you’ll indulge me on the length, as I believe it is as relevant today as it was when written, and understand it applies to all first responders and our military.

    Look beyond the playing field for real heroes

    I was watching a golf match on television last week, and the announcer said something that started my blood boiling. He described a golf shot as “courageous”.
    I wondered why this otherwise innocuous statement got me so annoyed. Then it hit me. For years we’ve been bombarded by sickly-sweet descriptions given by sportscasters regarding the performance of athletes on the field of play.
    Never before have we heard of so many “heroic” goal-line stands, “epic” at-bats, and “courageous” golf shots. A courageous golf shot? Funny, but I’ve tried more than a few times to push a 4-iron over 200 yards of water, and never once thought of myself as brave when it stuck pin-high on the green. I have, however, considered myself an idiot when the ball plops in the pond for the twentieth straight time-but that’s another story.
    The point is our society has gotten too far away from understanding the meaning of a real hero.
    We worship men who can hit a little white ball 300 yards or 300 feet over a fence, or who can run with a football or dunk a basketball. I admit I allow myself to escape into a fantasy world on occasion while watching sports. I’d love to be able to do what these people do and get paid millions for it. Unfortunately, my paydays in the athletic arena are limited to my daughters cheering me on when I get a hit in a softball game. It’s all the reward I need.
    So where are the real heroes? You see them every day, in every city and town and in every state. They toil thanklessly day and night, one minute in mind-numbing drudgery, the next in stark terror. They do things and go into places the average person only sees in their nightmares. They are expected to be all things to all people in all situations.
    One slip or mistake in the performance of this impossible task, and they are instantly vilified. They are seen as the problem, instead of what they really represent: society’s best hope for peace and safety.
    They are police officers, sheriffs, troopers, and correctional officers who bust their butts to protect the lambs from the wolves of society. Heroes? You bet. Courageous? Absolutely. I’ve seen cops do things for complete strangers, with little regard for their own safety, that would make your hair curl up and fall out. Why do we do it? It’s not for the pay, I can tell you that.
    While we make a decent blue-collar wage, it doesn’t approach in a year what some professional athletes clear in one game. That’s where my point about the “courageous” jock comes in. Look at it this way: an athlete, while strong and fast and agile, can simply give up when he gets exhausted from the heat of competition. He can go to the sidelines for some oxygen and Gatorade and be ready and refreshed for the next round.
    In the middle of some real competition is where you’ll find the real heroes. In a knock-down, drag-out fight with a crack head who’s working on his third strike, and is going for the cop’s gun, the cop doesn’t have the luxury of calling a time out and walking off the field. The “epic” battle goes until it’s over, and, just like the athlete, the cop isn’t paid to lose. The difference is, when the cop loses, he’s dead. And then we all lose.
    So, let’s remind the public that the next time they’re at a ballgame, they should grab a beer and a hotdog, and if they witness an athlete perform well, they should stand and cheer and stomp their feet.
    And let’s remind them also that the next time they witness a cop chasing a robbery suspect through yards and over fences, and tackling the guy on concrete without the benefit of pads, that we are doing it for them. Not for fame or money. If they offer their hand and a word of thanks, in our arena, it’s all the applause we need.

  32. Barbara Piserchia

    Heroes come in all shapes and walks of life! My husband is my hero because he works hard to make a good life for our family!
    Kobe was a role model and if he was able to get a kid off the street and into playing basketball by his example.. he in fact is a hero!!
    We support nine line and will continue to do so! Great job

  33. Jennifer Lintz

    Not to mention that he used that status to establish a foundation to serve others who had less, an organization that allowed him to give back. He fought back for a stable and happy homelife, setting an example and showing that money does not save you from person struggles and you must fight for those things. Rest in peace.

  34. Mary

    The other day on the radio, I was listening to a psychologist who was answering the question of why people grieve over the death of someone they have never met and don’t really know. She said first that it can sadden people whose memory goes back to a loved one who has died. Or, it can make people think about their own mortality and how, if they died today, they would leave behind loved ones, unfulfilled dreams, etc. Then she talked about something that I had not thought of. Talking specifically about Kobe, she said there are some people that grieve his death because he represented a father figure for them. A father that some kids have never had in their lives. To those kids, he was hero. He gave all that he had to being the best he could be at his job (basketball – and his hard work paid off!). By all accounts, he was looked up to by his peers. And he appears to have been a very good father. Kids looked up to him, and it is hard for them to see their hero die. A hero could be any father or mother, or aunt, or brother. There is a special place for the heroes who risk their lives for others. But a hero is in the eye of the beholder.

  35. James DeGraw

    A rapist should never be called a hero. A celebrity died and yes he did some good but still a rapist. Not a hero.

  36. E

    I’m not a current or ex soldier. That is one thing in life I do gregret everyday of not becoming when I graduated high school. I love this country regardless if I voted for or not for the potus over the years and if I agree with certain policies or not. I abide and continue to live my life in freedom and trust we will be a strong nation in the end. I back and support anybody of service first responders military etc. thank you for what y’all do as a business and for what y’all stand for. I’m with you.

  37. Ed Grimm

    One of the greatest basketball players of all time, yes. Idol to many…..yes. Role model, questionable but later in life yes.
    Hero, no…..heros are soldiers, policeman, emt’s who regularly put themselves in harm’s way for others.

  38. Nancy

    I totally agree with your post regarding Kobe Bryant and why you honored him. Many more people in America need to come together as a united front in supporting each other and the values that our Founding Fathers created. Thank you to all people involved your your organization! Keep up the great work you do!!!

  39. Ronald Regan

    Thank you for your heartfelt explanation. I served many years ago. I was not a hero. The untimely death of those aboard Kobe Bryants helicopter was indeed a tragedy. I am proud to be a customer and consider all service men and women my brothers and sisters. There are some who react purely from the stress of being pounded by media. That doesn’t make NineLine’s response to the tragedy any less important. Thanks for taking the high road. Your response was tactfully well thought out and expressed. We live in a different world than I grew up in. Everyone reacts to news differently especially when the media coverage is so extensive. Everyone of the outlets wants to be first, that’s where the money is. Sad but true. Thanks again NineLine.

  40. Mark Mcelhinney

    Kobe Bryant’s death is tragic. Members of our military die in the line of duty daily. I would like to see equal notice paid.

  41. Barbara

    AGREED I was never a huge Kobe fan but I am HUGE fan of Americans coming together, in this divided country to mourn for a Superstar, Daddy; teens, family e.t.c C’mon man let it rest for a week.

  42. M

    Wow! Sounds like somebody is a little touchy! Until I read this I wasn’t aware of the negative feed back you were getting but I would have felt the same as others. My position is what about the others that were killed and the families affected? Do you realize if Kobe wasn’t so ‘famous’ most likely that helicopter would not have attempted the trip that morning due to the weather, but do they want to lose his business? I can’t even imagine how the other families are surviving their loss.

  43. Bruce Neal

    Right on Brother. Some haters just want to do that, HATE. It’s there loss. Love what your doing and love what you Stand For

  44. Elizabeth Modad

    Well said! Sad you have to explain yourself. Hopefully we can move on. I’m deeply saddened by Kobe’s death because he was my age, and I literally grew up watching him. I think it’s just human decency to express ones sympathy. Gone too soon. RIP Momba

  45. Kevin Mullen

    I honor the work you guys do . This country needs to get back to being Patriotic . I have a 9 yrs old granddaughter who dislikes President Trump. If I asked her why she couldn’t tell me . This is what they learn in schools today . Sad . As a veteran and son of a WW2 vet I was brought up with love for my country. I do think it’s sad that athletes are considered heroes and veterans are forgotten. God Bless America and God Bless you for the work you are doing .

  46. Rene

    He was also a pretty dang good guy. He didn’t claim to be uber talented, but said it was hard work.
    Do I think he is a hero? No, but I do think he was a great husband and father. He was an amazing athlete who worked very hard to be successful.
    Thank you for recognizing him.

  47. Mary C Henderson

    U can’t please everyone no matter what. It was a loss to everyone and the other seven passengers as well. It is a loss to the world. People need to get over it. I have learned a lot about Kobey and his daughter and the other passengers i feel so bad for all.

  48. Frank A Covington

    My problem with this news media for days exploited this terrible accident… Kobe will go down in history as one of the greatest players… the news media couldn’t even mention John Andretti died of colon cancer couldn’t even say his name but yet spent hours on exploiting Kobe… can you imagine if the news media took one minute a day to mention our military are men and women who have lost their lives are men and women who have lost their limbs. From one veteran to another sincerely Frank A Covington…


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