kobe bryant okstraw paper straws basketball paper straws

OkStraw Remembers Kobe Bryant

It’s with heart-shattering sadness that we at OkStraw Paper Straws announce the tragic and untimely death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, along with his daughter Gianna, and 7 others in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning, January 26th. This tragedy hit us incredibly hard, and we’re still coming to terms with the loss of Kobe. 


For us millennials, Kobe Bryant was our generation’s Michael Jordan or Kareem Abdul Jabar. Kobe absolutely dominated the court during his 20-year playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers, breaking numerous records. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we want to dedicate this article to an icon who inspired passion through perseverance, tragically taken from this life.

kobe bryant okstraw basketball paper straws

Kobe Bryant’s fateful journey was an otherwise routine trip; he regularly flew by helicopter to avoid Los Angeles’ infamous traffic. All 9 people departed from John Wayne Airport in neighboring Orange County to Burbank Airport, where they were to attend a basketball game at Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy near Thousand Oaks, west of Los Angeles. 


On board was Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, Orange Coast College basketball coach John Altobelli and his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, Mamba’s assistant basketball coach Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan. Payton, Alyssa and Gianna were all teammates on Mamba’s basketball team that Kobe coached, and were set to play that day. 

During the flight, the helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76B, was near Burbank Airport when it flew westward. Before the helicopter could land, it ascended briefly before descending at high speed and crashing into a steep hillside in the suburban city of Calabasas, west of Los Angeles, at 9:47 AM. Tragically, everyone on board the helicopter lost their lives, despite emergency responders’ best efforts. 


While accident investigators have not yet determined the cause, heavy fog that morning and possible engine failure are being considered. Let us recognize the unbelievable pain the families and friends of those 9 souls who lost their lives that flight are experiencing. Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna are survived by wife and mother Vanessa, and their three daughters Natalia, Bianka, and 7 month-old Capri. 

basketball paper straws

If there was anyone who fit the description of a real superhero to us at OkStraw, then Kobe was a top contender. Kobe didn’t put on a cape and a mask when he went to work, and he certainly wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider. In fact, Kobe’s superhero prowess on the basketball court came from something that exists in all of us: passion.

For Kobe Bryant, passion in what he did was more than just a word, it was a method for his life. During his high school years, Kobe would show up for practice at 5 AM, while everyone else was still asleep, he played classmates in one-on-one games to 100, and practiced shooting hoops in the dark. Kobe even practiced his moves on court without a basketball, according to Shaquille O’Neal, something that surely raised a few eyebrows.

Injuries rarely slowed Kobe down, thanks to his passion. During the Lakers’ 1999-2000 season, Kobe broke his wrist, but he still showed up to practice with his right arm in a cast, and dribbled and shot with his left instead. No lights, basketball or dominant arm to use? Kobe still found a way to play; passion was his way of life.

Kobe Bryant’s passion didn’t end at the basketball court, he took this way of life and applied it to everything he did. Kobe worked with the Make-A-Wish-Foundation for more than 20 years, personally meeting over 100 children suffering from critical illnesses. In 2012, Kobe helped raise $81 million for cancer research on behalf of Stand Up To Cancer, and the year prior, he and Vanessa founded an organization that helps homeless youths in Los Angeles. 


Kobe’s fame and Kobe’s 2017 animated short film Dear Basketball even won him an Academy Award. While we can’t all be legendary basketball players like Kobe, we can certainly learn a thing or two from him, and make ourselves better people. If we applied that intense passion to our lives at even a tenth of the energy that Kobe lived his, imagine what we could achieve. Kobe taught us that passion doesn’t only need to be a side hobby, it can be an entire way of life.

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From all of us at OkStraw, we would like to give our most sincere condolences to the families of everyone on that fateful helicopter flight. Losing such an iconic person like Kobe Bryant is a horrible punch to the heart, but let’s honor his legacy in the best way we can. 

Let’s fire up this unstoppable juggernaut of passion within ourselves, and strive to do our best, no matter in what it may be. We’re only on this planet for a very short time, and whether or not we all think it’s a one-shot deal, let’s treat it like it is. Whether it be playing basketball,  always do better than necessary. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those whose lives were cut far too on that flight.

Happy New Years from OkStraw Paper Straws

Looking Forward to 2020

Happy New Years from all of us at OkStraw Paper Straws! 2019’s coming to a close, the fireworks are getting prepared, and the drinks are coming in fast and strong. Before we hit 2020, let’s take a look back at all 2019 brought to us. 

2019 was a big year for OkStraw Paper Straws. From trade shows to all-new products, we hit the ground running, and never looked back. We donated thousands of dollars worth of paper straws to local food banks and volunteered to help out in the kitchen at Father Joe’s Village. We helped clean up plastic pollution throughout San Diego and plan to continue helping the community into 2020. So grab a drink and a paper straw, and reminisce for just a bit.

Check out our super popular Boba Paper Straws!
OkStraw paper straws - Western Foodservice expo 2019

Lots of Trade Shows in 2019

This year, OkStraw Paper Straws made several trade show debuts, and we hit it off big! March saw us at the International Foodservice & Restaurant Show in New York City, rubbing elbows with the big shots. Come May, we packed our windbreakers, and headed off to the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. 


By July, we packed our sunscreen, and jetted off to Orlando, where we attended the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show. August was another hot month for OkStraw, starting in New Orleans. We hit the Big Easy, and made our debut at the Louisiana Restaurant Show. 

We finished August at Western Food Expo in Los Angeles, establishing our reputation from coast to coast. We were even featured in Slate Magazine article, which was also pretty cool! 2019 was OkStraw’s national breakout year, and by golly is the jet lag kicking in!

Several Great New Paper Straw Products

This year saw a ton of new OkStraw paper straws to defeat those pesky plastic straws. Over the Summer, our paper spoon straws became a must have for any slushie drink. From there, we demonstrated our engineering abilities with our record-setting paper tiki straws. Completing this triumphant trio were our ADA-compliant paper bendy straws, delivering the final coup de grace to plastic straws. 

OkStraw also introduced more choices to our existing paper straws. New for 2019 are 4-ply options for our paper bubble tea straws, jumbo cocktail straws, and giant paper straws. So no matter what your needs are, there’s an OkStraw paper straw for you. We’re proud of what we brought to the market in 2019, and 2020’s also gonna be a blast!

Click here to see our super strong 4-PLY Paper Straws
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Let's Ring in the New Year!

So now that 2019’s under our belts, let’s grab 2020 by the horns! Next decade’s going to see new consumer trends, new environmental laws, and greater calls for environmental justice. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we’re up to any challenges that come our way. 

We love New Year’s resolutions, but we make them too hard. Well here’s a New Year’s resolution that’s easier than any you made before. Forget no junk food, or learning how to hula hoop. If you want to make the biggest difference and put in the least amount of effort, then switch to paper straws. It’s so easy that even Californians like us at OkStraw can do it!

Switching to paper straws isn’t just the easiest resolution ever, it also makes a HUGE difference. No more plastic straws means healthier oceans, less plastic waste, and a lower carbon footprint. So grab a drink and an OkStraw paper straw, watch the fireworks, and have an awesome New Year!

Happy Holidays from OkStraw

Christmas Paper Straws

It’s December, and you know what that means? The holidays are coming, and we’re in a festive mood at OkStraw Paper Straws. We’re writing letters to Santa, hanging up our stockings, and hoping to find paper straws under the Christmas tree!


Here at OkStraw, we have paper straws to fit your holiday needs. Holidays are special occasions, so special occasions call for special drinks, and of course paper straws. So grab a drink and a paper straw, because we have some beverage ideas for your holiday festivities.

Paper Straws for your Cocktail Needs

We love a great cocktail for the holidays, and OkStraw has some ideas for you! If you’re celebrating Kwanzaa, then give this classic cocktail a try. Invented by the first African American cocktail book author Tom Bullock, the Stinger celebrates a true trailblazer. The Stinger consists of brandy and creme de menthe, a mint-flavored spirit. Serve it over ice in a cocktail glass, complete with an OkStraw Paper Bar Stir. 

Hannukah’s on the way, and that means here comes the Manischewitz! This sweet kosher wine is a holiday staple, and it makes for great cocktails, too! Mix Manischewitz, lemon-lime soda, fruits and vodka for a Hannukah Sangria. Serve with a paper bar stir, or if you’re feeling especially generous, try OkStraw paper tiki straws! L’Chaim!

Eggnog for Grownups and Wintry Boba

Eggnog is an old childhood Christmas drink favorite, and it’s for adults too! Adult eggnog is your regular nog, but with a kick from brandy, bourbon or rum. One or two shots per serving should do the trick, and is best served chilled. Now a heavy drink like eggnog calls for a tough straw, and that’s where OkStraw Giant Paper Straws come in. Available in festive colors, OkStraw Giant Paper Straws are perfect for your Christmas beverage needs.

After all, who doesn’t love wintry flavored bubble tea? Just prepare boba tea the way you do, and add your prefered seasonal spice powder or syrup. Our favorites are peppermint and pumpkin spice boba tea. Of course no boba drink is complete without an OkStraw Bubble Paper Straw! Available in 3 or 4 ply and in different designs, our paper boba straws are perfect for any occasion. 

Deck the Halls with Paper Straws

Ok, our rhyming is still a work in progress, but you get the idea. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or all three, choose OkStraw paper straws. Available in fun, festive colors, our paper straws are the perfect compliment to your holiday celebrations. 


OkStraw biodegradable paper straws come from sustainable forestry practices, and we only use organic materials. 100 percent plastic free and with no animal byproducts, OkStraw paper straws are perfect for any occasion. From all of us at OkStraw, happy holidays, and a very merry Cause for Paper Straws!

OkStraw Paper Straws Celebrates Thanksgiving

It’s late October, and you know what that means, don’t you? Yup, Thanksgiving is coming up, and we at OkStraw can’t wait! Flights are booked, family trucksters are packed with the whole family, and the traffic is an absolute nightmare. It’s all worth it, though, because we get to eat and spend time with the family!

Many of us picture Thanksgiving as that old cliché. We’re surrounding a gigantic turkey with tons of sides, trying to forget about those embarrassing, itchy sweaters we have on. Not so fast, however, because just like America, Thanksgivings are becoming diverse by the year. Now let’s grab a drink, get our paper straws ready, and talk about Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving from Plymouth to Liberia

We usually consider the 1621 feast at Plymouth as the first Thanksgiving. Pilgrims sailed from across Europe, and many perished during a harsh Northeastern winter. An indigenous Pautuxet man named Squanto taught the surviving pilgrims how to grow crops, and fish the waters. After the first successful harvest, a three-day feast was held, becoming first Thanksgiving. 

In 1863, President Lincoln set Thanksgiving as the last Thursday of November, and every president since kept the tradition. Thanksgiving isn’t just confined to America, other countries also celebrate it. Canadian Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday in October. The Liberia in West Africa also celebrates Thanksgiving, and so do the Caribbean countries St. Lucia and Grenada.

The Diverse Thanksgiving Dinner

While we may there there’s a typical Thanksgiving table spread, that really isn’t the case. In fact, many American states have their own unique regional dishes. Florida has key lime pies, while Georgia’s famous for its pecan pies. Mushroom gravy replaces turkey gravy in Washington State, and many Hawai’ians use sweet Okinawan Purple Potatoes. 

Not only does every American region bring its own dish to the Thanksgiving people, so does our multicultural nation. An Egyptian American family might enjoy stuffed grape leaves as a side dish, and many Mexican American families incorporate dishes from their culture into Thanksgiving dinners. Thanksgiving is richer and more diverse than ever thanks to the people of America, and we at OkStraw Paper Straws love celebrating that. 

OkStraw donated over $1500 dollars worth of paper straws to the San Diego Food Bank to show our thanks to the local community!

Paper Straws for Thanksgiving Dinner

So now we know, Thanksgiving is more diverse than we’d ever imagined. But what do all of these Thanksgivings have in common? Everyone needs a paper straw, of course! Here at OkStraw, we created our own Thanksgiving dinner tradition. At our Thanksgiving dinner table, we ditched the plastic and switched to paper straws. We hope our tradition becomes part of every Thanksgiving dinner, because we all need a healthy planet. Additionally, OkStraw donated over $1500 dollars worth of paper straws to the San Diego Food Bank to show our thanks to the local community!

At OkStraw, we use organic biodegradable materials to make a paper straw for every occasion. Perhaps Boba Tea is your Thanksgiving tradition? That’s where our bubble tea paper straws come in! Or maybe you love NFL on Thanksgiving Day? Grab a box of our Football Paper Straws! No matter the tradition, make our paper straws your newest Thanksgiving addition. From all of us at OkStraw, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and welcome to our Cause for Paper Straws!