Sports lover woke up to a very sad news of legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant was among the passengers who died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. He was one of basketball’s greatest players and most masterful scorers of all time. The news was confirmed by NBA commissioner Adam Silver who was quoting saying that, “The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. … We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world.”
Kobe Bryant was born on August 23, 1978, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. He curved a niche in the American professional basketball player and went on lead the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) to win five championships during the 2000–02 and 2009–10. Bryant’s father, Joe Bryant also known as Jelly Bean was a professional basketball player who was for eight seasons in the NBA while the next eight years in Italy. It was during that time, he did schooling in Italy. Soon the family moved back to United States, Bryant started playing basketball at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, where he received several accolades such as national Player of the Year awards and went on to broke the southeastern Pennsylvania scoring record set by Wilt Chamberlain with 2,883 points.
He took a tough decision to not attend college and declared himself eligible for the NBA draft when he graduated from high school. His risky decision paid divined and was picked by Charlotte Hornets and was their 13th pick of the 1996 draft. Soon he was traded to Lakers and quickly proved his value with the Lakers and was selected for the NBA All-Star Game in his second season, becoming the youngest All-Star.
Bryant had a very tough relationship with his popular and talented teammate Shaquille O’Neal. But all of this changed under the management of Phil Jackson, who became coach of the Lakers in 1999. The partnership further blossomed when Bryant took the role of a shooting guard and O’Neal Centre role. By the age of 23, the Lakers had won three consecutive NBA championships. But soon post winning their third title in 2002, Bryant and the Lakers had a tough time ahead. The most difficult time was when Bryant was accused of raping a young woman in Colorado. Though he was cleared of all the charges but his reputation was greatly tarnished. In 2004, O’Neal was traded and Bryant became the team’s sole leader.
Bryan constantly performed well for the team during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons, and in 2008 he was also named the league’s MVP for the first time in his career. Bryant retired from the game in 2016 as a five-time NBA champion, 11-time All-NBA first-team selection, 2008 MVP, two-time Finals MVP, 18-time All-Star and four-time All-Star MVP who spent his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He also has won the gold medals with USA Basketball at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics.
Post retiring from the game, he penned down poem titled “Dear Basketball” and later on it was converted into a short film of the same name, which he also narrated. It went on to win an Academy Award for best animated short film. Bryant also penned down a book The Mamba Mentality: How I Play, which gave an insight into his approach to basketball; the title was oath to the nickname he bestowed upon himself during his playing days, “The Black Mamba.”
We lost Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter were among a group traveling to a girls’ basketball game in a helicopter when it crashed, killing all nine people on board.