We lost one of the most iconic basketball players in history on Jan. 26.
Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash off the hills of Calabasas, Calif. at the age of 41, along with his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others. Bryant’s death shocked the entire world and shook the entire sports community. On the basketball court he became one of the best players ever.
Bryant started his journey in the NBA straight out of Lower Merion High School, located in the suburbs of Philadelphia. In 1996, he declared to go straight in the NBA draft and was selected by the Charlotte Hornets, but then was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
He spent 20 years in the purple and gold of the Lakers and won five NBA Finals, was an 18-time All-Star, four-time All-Star MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP, and was NBA MVP once. He called himself “Black Mamba” because he reflected the snake’s ability in his basketball skills.
One of the iconic moments of Bryant’s career was in January 2006 against the Toronto Raptors, when he scored 81 points in a single game. This made him second on the list for most points scored in a single game in NBA history.
In his final NBA game in May of 2016 against the Utah Jazz, Bryant ended his career by scoring 60 points after dealing with a torn Achilles injury. He didn’t want to leave the NBA quietly so he gave the fans a show.
He was married to Vanessa Laine-Bryant for 17 years and they had four girls together. He always wanted to be a “girl dad.” Natalia, the oldest of the daughters, is currently a volleyball player. Gianna was playing basketball at her dad’s Mamba Sports Academy.
Bryant also did a short animation film called “Dear Basketball,” which he won an Emmy for in 2018.
He was known as competitive player, but he was one of the best people you could be with on the court. He was a great family guy and was genuine to others.
Bryant’s last words after his final game were “Mamba out,” but for us he will not be forgotten.