NBA great Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California. The accident occurred just before 10:00 a.m. PT and the cause has yet to be determined.
It was shocking news just a day after Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James passed Bryant on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. James scored 29 points hitting the milestone shot with 7:23 left in the third quarter of the Lakers loss to the 76ers on Saturday night. Ironically, James broke the record in Philadelphia where Bryant was born.
James had written “Mamba 4 Life” and “8/24 KB” on his sneakers before Saturday’s game in Philadelphia to pay respect to Bryant, who played his entire 20-year NBA career with the Lakers.
Bryant, 41, was an 18-time All-Star starting all 18 ASGs in a row. He won the All-Star Game MVP four times, which is tied for the most in NBA history with Bob Pettit.
Bryant’s list of achievements is long and amazing. He led the Lakers to five NBA titles and he was the NBA Finals MVP in both 2009 and 2010. He averaged over 25 points per game for his career and was the youngest player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points.
Not only was he an outstanding scorer, but Bryant was selected to the NBA’s All-Defensive first-team nine times. He also made his teammates better as he was the first player in NBA history to score 30,000 career points and also have 6,000 career assists.
Bryant’s two jerseys – No. 8 and No. 24 – hung brightly at the 2020 Grammy Awards held Sunday night at the Staples Center, home of the Lakers. Bryant was the first Laker to have two different jersey numbers retired. They will hang high for eternity.