On January 26, 2020, the world lost a legend. Kobe Bean Bryant, also known as The Black Mamba, passed away in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California at the age of 41. He died alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, and seven other people, including young athletes, coaches and local leaders.
It has been made known that due to serious weather conditions, other air traffic was grounded. Despite speculation that the weather had caused the crash, this has not been confirmed. The Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, and FBI are currently conducting investigations to determine the cause of the crash. This information will most likely be released to the public once the investigations are complete.
Kobe was a champion on and off the court.
He is referred to as one of the greatest and most decorated NBA players of all time. Kobe played with the Los Angeles Lakers for his entire career. During his tenure, he broke and established many records. He won 5 NBA championship rings and was an 18-time NBA All-Star. Kobe committed his life to philanthropy and used his voice to motivate young people to work hard and go after their dreams regardless of where they come from.
Many are hurting in the wake of Kobe’s passing, but we want to take this time to honour him. He has left behind a legacy that we must not forget.
Here is our list of the top 5 moments of Kobe Bryant’s career:
(5) His epic beginning
In 1996 at the age of 17, Kobe was drafted in the first round by the Charlotte Horners. He was the 13th overall draft pick. Kobe was the first guard in NBA history to be drafted out of high school. Before being drafted, he graduated from Lower Merion High school. There, he was recognized as the number one high school basketball player at that time.
After being drafted by the Horners, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. He stayed with the Lakers during his entire 20 season career. This is the second-highest record for the most seasons that one player has played with the same team.
(4) The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation and philanthropic endeavours.
Originally known as the VIVO foundation, Kobe launched The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation with his wife in 2007. This initiative seeks to improve the lives of youth and families in need with the provision of diverse resources for families and youth. The organization encourages cultural enrichment and educational development for youth. The organization also provides financial resources for minority groups and disadvantaged youth so that they have the opportunity to pursue post-secondary education. The KVBFF also operates the Mamba FC, which is a youth soccer club. Through sports, Kobe aimed to teach children and youth important skills such as discipline and perseverance
In addition to his family organization, Kobe launched the Kobe Basketball Academy in 2007. At his Academy, Kobe mentored and trained aspiring young athletes who were pursuing a career in basketball. Kobe also supported and was affiliated with an extensive list of charities and organizations such as the Make a Wish Foundation, Aid Still Required, Stand Up to Cancer, After School All-Stars, NBA Cares, and The Boy’s and Girl’s Club of America.
(3) Winning an Oscar
To announce his impending retirement in 2015, Bryant wrote a poem expressing his love for the game of basketball, and the pain he experienced departing from something he loved. In the poem, Kobe says:
“I can’t love you obsessively for much longer… My body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”
This poem was published in the Player’s Tribune, and in 2017, was turned into a short film with the help of director Glen Keane. In 2018, Kobe was nominated for and won, the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film.
Kobe is the only NBA player to have an Oscar. Watch his acceptance speech below.
(2) Olympic History
In both 2008 and 2012, Kobe helped Team USA’s Men’s Olympic basketball team win the gold. Even in his retirement, Kobe stayed close to the Olympics and supported his fellow USA athletes. He was a close supporter of the USA Women’s Gymnastics team. He even loaned his voice for the Los Angeles Olympic bid presentation to the IOC in 2018. Watch the video below to hear Kobe talk about his Olympic experiences.
(1) Kobe scores the second-highest single-game total in NBA history
In the 2005-2006 season, Kobe led the NBA with more than 35 points per game. On January 22, 2006, against the Toronto Raptors, Kobe shattered records and expectations. In this game, Kobe scored 81 points against the Raptors. He scored 28 out of 46 basket attempts, and 7 out of 13 3-point basket attempts. Kobe holds the record for leading scorer in Lakers history with 33,643 points under his belt.
Kobe Bryant’s legacy is colossal.
And he has one more accomplishment to attach to his name.
Kobe has just been nominated for election into the NBA Hall of Fame. It is almost guaranteed that he will be inducted during the 2020 ceremony. This is a well-deserved and well-earned induction. He is the epitome of what can happen to those who work hard and never give up on their dreams.
He has inspired millions and his legacy is embedded in history to be awed by billions. His death, the death of his daughter, and the death of the other 7 victims is truly a tragedy.
Thanks, Kobe. We will never forget.