Kobe Bryant is a former professional basketball player who won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and established himself as one of the game’s all-time greats. On January 26, 2020, he unfortunately died in a helicopter mishap.
Kobe Bryant Life
Kobe Bryant grew up in Italy and went right into the NBA after graduating from high school. Bryant was a great scorer for the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA titles and the MVP Award in 2008. Despite injuries hampering his later seasons, he passed Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list in December 2014, and retired in 2016 after scoring 60 points in his final game.
Dear Basketball won Bryant an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2018. Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gigi, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020.
NBA Career and Statistics
Bryant was selected as a starter for the 1998 NBA All-Star Game in his second season with the Lakers, making him the NBA’s youngest All-Star at the age of 19. The shooting guard later won three straight NBA titles with superstar center Shaquille O’Neal, and was named first-team all-NBA from 2002 to 2004. He has signed multi-year sponsorship partnerships with Adidas, Sprite, and other well-known brands.
Despite the fact that the Lakers struggled after O’Neal’s departure in 2004, Bryant was a standout performer. In January 2006, he scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second-highest single-game total in NBA history, and he went on to lead the league in scoring the following year and the year after.
Bryant was voted NBA Most Valuable Player in 2008 after leading his team to the NBA Finals, where they were defeated by the Boston Celtics. The Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals to win the title. Bryant attended a memorial gathering for friend and music legend Michael Jackson shortly afterward. The Lakers defeated the Celtics the next year to capture their second straight championship.
Bryant was a member of the United States Olympic teams in 2008 and 2012, winning gold medals in both years alongside teammates Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony, among others.
Kobe Bryant Retirement
Despite returning in time for the start of the 2015-2016 NBA season, Bryant battled with his young Lakers colleagues. He announced his retirement at the end of the 2015 season in November 2015. He commented on The Players’ Tribune website, “This season is all I have left to give.” “My heart is strong enough to withstand the hammering. My head can take anything, but my body understands when it’s time to let go.”
The news garnered a lot of attention, especially from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “Kobe Bryant is one of the best players in the history of our game,” Silver said in a statement. “He has 17 NBA All-Star selections, an NBA MVP, five NBA championships with the Lakers, two Olympic gold medals, and a tireless work ethic.” “Whether he’s in the championships or hoisting jump shots in an empty gym at 2 a.m., Kobe has an unwavering enthusiasm for the game.”
Kobe Bryant Philanthropy
The Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation teamed with the non-profit After-School All-Stars as part of the basketball legend’s humanitarian activities. He also ran the Kobe Basketball Academy, an annual summer camp.
Kobe Bryant Death
Bryant was a passenger on a Sikorsky S-76 aircraft that crashed in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas on January 26, 2020. Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna “Gigi” were among the nine individuals killed. Bryant was slated to coach a tournament game at Mamba Sports Academy in Thousands Oaks, California, and the chopper was on its way from Orange County to Thousands Oaks.