Monday, January 27, 2020 7:15 am
The sports world has been thrown into mourning with the death of Kobe Bryant, one of the NBA’s all-time greats on Sunday in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles.
The helicopter crash claimed nine lives, including that of the Basketball’s star 13-year-old daughter.
Bryant’s death sent shock waves through the National Basketball Association (NBA), which he helped propel to international prominence, and around the world, though the fame of the late sports legend transcended basketball.
Below are 15 facts about the career and life of the late basketball legend.
1. Bryant who died at the age of 41 began his career in the NBA as an 18-year-old rookie and played 20 years for the Los Angeles Lakers, 18 of them as an all-star
2. The Philadelphia native went straight from high school to the NBA, skipping the college ranks. Since he was still only 17 years old, his parents needed to co-sign his first contract with the Lakers and he played his first game with the team shortly after turning 18 in 1996.
3. Bryant’s father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, also played in the NBA, and Kobe demonstrated from an early age he would surpass his father’s accomplishments.
4. He went on to win five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers
5. He also won two Olympic gold medals, part of the U.S. team in 2008 and 2012.
6. He retired after the 2015/2016 NBA season because of mounting injuries.
7. In recent years, he had focused his attention on philanthropy and business ventures.
8. Bryant wore number 24 for much of his career.
6. Bryant had been known to use a helicopter for travel since his days as a player for the Lakers.
7. He commuted to games in a Sikorsky S-76 chopper, the celebrity news website TMZ said.
8. He was the third-leading scorer in league history with 33,643 points, until LeBron James passed him on Saturday.
9. Nicknamed “The Black Mamba,” he became eligible to enter the Hall of Fame this year and is certain to be selected when the 2020 class is enshrined.
10. Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, had four daughters: Gianna, Natalia, Bianca and Capri, who was born in June 2019.
11. Bryant’s star power translated into the entertainment world as he mingled with show-business stars in Los Angeles.
12. In 2018, he won an Oscar for his animated short film “Dear Basketball.”
13. He was accused of sexual assault in 2003 by an employee at a Colorado hotel, tarnishing his reputation and leading to a media storm to cover his trial.
14. Bryant denied the allegations and charges eventually were dropped after the woman refused to testify.
15. Bryant and his wife filed for divorce in 2011 after 10 years of marriage, but the couple said in 2013 they had reconciled.