2020. The year that will go down in infamy, bringing back dreadful memories for the millennials and members of Gen Z who have to answer questions about it for their future grandchildren’s history homework.
The world was slammed with a spiraling whirlwind of tragedies, from Australian bushfires to the arrival of murder hornets in the U.S., to a devastating explosion in Beirut. Black Lives Matter protests erupted across the world following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and hundreds of thousands of Americans were killed by COVID-19.
Society fell to one of the darkest places in history and through all of this, many legends were tragically lost. VALLEY will be honoring and remembering some of the many who died, and the marks they left behind.
The death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna shattered the hearts of people everywhere, throwing the world into disbelief. Bryant was an exceptional athlete, holding titles such as five-time NBA champion, 17-time NBA all-star and second highest point-scorer in a single game in the NBA. He was an NBA finals MVP and Olympic gold medalist, twice, and he played a whopping 20 seasons with the Lakers; the most seasons that any athlete has played with a single NBA team.
He was an inspiration to all in the world of sports, preaching his “Mamba mentality” of fierce preparation and focus in his journey to success. He’s considered one of the best basketball players of all time, and his legend will live on forever.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (R.B.G.)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or R.B.G., was a trailblazer for girls and women everywhere and was only the second female Supreme Court justice in history. She relentlessly advocated for equal rights for women, the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities and more during her time in the Court from 1993 to 2020. She also helped establish the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project.
Ginsburg unapologetically fought for what she believed in, refusing to back down. “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception,” she once said.
Known and loved by game show enthusiasts everywhere, Alex Trebek hosted the show “Jeopardy!” for 37 seasons, from 1984 to 2020. He never failed to put a smile on the face of his audience, and his memory will be cherished forever. The official “Jeopardy!” Twitter posted the following heartfelt tribute in honor of the airing of Trebek’s last episode.
Representative John Lewis played a key role in the American civil rights movement. From 1963 to 1966, he was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which provided a platform for Black youth in the fight for civil rights. He was part of the “Big Six” who led the 1963 March on Washington, and he was beaten nearly to death by white police officers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965.
Lewis was also one of the original Freedom Riders, a group of thirteen people who endured violence while riding public buses across the South to protest segregation laws. He dedicated his life to fighting for civil rights and remaining peaceful in the face of brutality. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Georgia from 1987 to 2020 and his courage and persistence will not be forgotten.
Chadwick Boseman’s death at age 43 from colon cancer stunned moviegoers around the world. For his most prominent role as T’Challa in Marvel’s “Black Panther,” Boseman achieved a major milestone in cinema; being the first African American to star in a major superhero movie. Despite his exhausting battle with cancer and chemotherapy, he continued to act in many films, showing that his passion for acting never dwindled.
Eddie Van Halen
Formed in 1974, the band Van Halen put hard rock back into the spotlight, their concerts giving fans a rush like never before. Eddie Van Halen, the group’s main songwriter and guitarist, was an extraordinary talent. His guitar solos are often considered unparalleled, and Rolling Stone named him one of the top ten guitarists of all time.
The world of couture would simply not be the same if it weren’t for Pierre Cardin, a French fashion designer. His designs reflect his close embrace of the Space Age, and his avant-garde style and unique use of geometric patterns make his work distinct. He was at the forefront of a transformation of men’s fashion, and he even designed suits for the Beatles.
He authorized mass clothing production, making his designs more accessible. He’s often credited with the bubble skirt, and he helped design Christian Dior’s New Look collection. Cardin completely changed the fashion business, and his contributions were (and still are) extremely valuable.
Gone but Never Forgotten
2020 was a tough year filled with many tragic losses, but the legacies that have been left behind, along with the accomplishments of those who died, will not be forgotten.