On January 26, 2020, the world mourned the loss of Kobe Bryant who passed away in a tragic helicopter crash. Teams running down the 24-second shot clock purposely and players in tears – the black mamba’s death brought everyone to a standstill.
He was travelling with Gianna Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter to his youth basketball academy when they and seven other people were killed in the crash. The 41-year-old five-time N.B.A. champion will forever be remembered as one of the all-time greatest basketball players.
Former President Barack Obama tweeted – “Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents.”
Kobe Bryant’s unwavering commitment to excellence and intensive focus on everything he did are the core values we share at Richie Bags. Our deepest condolences are with the Bryant family and the other families who lost their loved ones under such horrifying circumstances.
The blog below breaks down Kobe’s greatest achievements- on and off the basketball court.
From A Rookie To A G.O.A.T
Kobe Bean Bryant was the first guard to be drafted straight out of Lower Merion High School. He was selected 13th overall in the 1996 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets who then traded him to Los Angeles Lakers. Ryant spent his entire 20-years career as a small forward/shooting guard.
At the age of 34, Kobe emerged as the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said – “For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning.”
Kobe Bean Bryant: A Brilliant And Unmatched Legacy
In a remarkable career, Bryant won 5 NBA championships and made 18 all-star games. He put together a resume which made him an obvious choice for the 2020 class of the Hall of Fame.
All-time NBA great Michael Jordan said, “ I loved Kobe – He was a dear brother to me.” Jordan further continued, “He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force.”
Even though the legend’s career had endless highlights, four unforgettable moments define him the best.
- 81 Points
His 81 point explosion over the Toronto Raptors on Jan 22, 2006, is by far the most impressive scoring performance in the NBA history.
- 2009 N.B.A. Finals
Kobe led the L.A. Lakers to the N.B.A. Championship with an average of 32.4 points a game in the finals. He was named the series M.V.P.
- The Grand Finale
After his Achilles rupture, Kobe was a shell of himself. However, he closed out his impressive career that day by scoring 60 points, thus pushing the last-positioned Lakers past the Utah Jazz.
- No Finch
Matt Barnes, a rival player, faked throwing an inbound pass directly at Bryant on March 7, 2010. But, Kobe didn’t even show a hint of flinching.
Kobe: Much More Than Just A Basketball Legend
Bryant’ 20-year basketball career was governed by intense focus. So, several league observers had questioned how the legend would cope with his life outside the game. But, as a true legend, he was a champion both on and off-the-field.
Following his retirement, he entered the world of entertainment. In 2018, Bryant won an Oscar for “Dear Basketball” – an animated short film. It was based on a poem with the same name which he had written detailing his immense love for the game. Later, his daughter Gianna’s love for basketball drew him back to the NBA.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Art and Sciences tweeted – “They doubted a kid could make it in the NBA and he proved them wrong. They doubted he could win a championship and he proved them wrong. They doubted he could make movies and he won an Oscar. Like all great artists, Kobe Bryant proved the doubters wrong. Rest in peace.”
Not every Basketball Hall of Fameris an Oscar winner. Born as an athlete, he became an NBA star who transcended basketball. Kobe Bryant will forever be etched in our hearts and minds.