Kobe Bryant, and his 13 yrs old daughter, Gianna were among nine people who died in a helicopter crush in Southern California.
Kobe, was respected for his fierce competitiveness, what he called “Mamba mentality”.
Kobe Bryant, dominated at Lower Merion Highschool in Philadelphia, leading to his decision:
He said “I have to decided to skip college, and take my talent to NBA.”
1996, he became the youngest player in NBA HISTORY, at age of 18.
He was traded that same day to Lakers.
His age would be no problem in his rookie season. He won the NBA DUNK CONTEST as a teenager.
1998, He bacame a youngest All Star in Nba History. He even playing against his childhood idol, Michael Jordan.
Bryant, won his first championship with Lakers, in 2000. Its was his fourth Nba season.
And the Lakers won championship again in 2001.
And having 3 consecutive championship , when they won again in 2002, along with now NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.
Bryant, had his time in spotlight for controversial reasons too.
Accused of rape after what Bryant describes as a consensual sex, the case never went to trial as the alleged victim refused to testify. A settlement reached in civil court.
When O’neal left the Lakers, Bryant’s athletic career entered in next phase.
He became relentless scorer, famously dropping 81 points in a game. It was the second most points scored in a single game ever.
He went on his only NBA MVP award in 2008. But Bryant stii searching championship without O’neal.
Bryant and the lakers lost in a game with Celtics in the 2008 NBA FINALS.
Bryant; “Once you go through your ups and downs, struggle a little bit, taste defeat. I think that makes you little tougher.
But the next year, mamba mentality embodied.
Bryant and the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic in the NBA FINALS.
In 2009, Bryant was awarded his first of two Finals MVP Honors. The awards helped push back against critics who said he couldn’t win without O’neal by his side. If that wasn’t enough, Bryant led the Lakers to another championship in 2010, beating the Boston Celtics. Just two years after losing to the Celtics in the NBA Finals, Bryant and the Lakers got their revenge
Bryant tore his Achilles tendon in 2013, ending season and altering his basketball career forever.
Two years later, Bryant wrote a poem entitled “Dear Basketball” , announcing his retirement.
Then, in his final Lakers basketball game, ever, he said goodbye in typical Kobe Bryant fashion.
At 37 years old, Bryant became the the oldest player in NBA history to score 60 points in one game, “MAMBA OUT”.
The 18th-time All Star closed his incredible NBA with two Finals MVP and the 2008 NBA MVP.
He played in the NBA for a total of 20 seasons, all with his beloved Los Angeles LAKERS.
He also has two Olympic gold medals.
After he retired, Bryant proved that Mamba mentality is bigger than basketball, and could extend beyond the court.
He animated short “Dear, Basketball” won Academy Award in 2018.
He also helped couch hos daughter Gianna, on her basketball journey.
Bryant scored 33,643 points which, until recently, was the third highest number of points scored in NBA History.
But om January 25, 2020, his rival turned friend, Lebron James, surpassed him.
The next day, Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in helicopter crash.
Fans gathered outside Staples Center, Bryant’s basketball home, to honor the legend.
“Have a good time, enjoy life. Life is too short to bogged down, to discourage. You have to keep moving on. Put one foot in front of the other, smile. And just keep on rolling.” - KOBE BRYANT 1978-2020