US, NBA and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant dead

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Courtesy : Business Insider

US, NBA and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant is killed in a helicopter crash. He was 41.

Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna is also among the eight others killed in the accident. All nine people on board Bryant’s private chopper lost their lives in the crash on Sunday (yesterday).

Bryant had been with Los Angeles for his entire 20-year NBA career, ever since he was picked at the 1996 NBA player draft. Credited with five NBA titles, two NBA Finals MVPs, two gold medals besides being named the most valuable player of the league in 2008, Bryant was NBA’s most decorated players and is the Lakers’ all-time franchise leader in points, games, steals and made 3-pointers among others, NBA has stated in a release.

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A day before the accident, Bryant has been surpassed by LeBron James on the all-time NBA scoring list. Bryant was among those active on social media congratulating James during and after the game between the Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers. James himself honoured Bryant during the game, inscribing “Mamba 4 Life” and “8/24 KB” on his sneakers. “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames,” Bryant wrote in his last tweet. “Much respect my brother.”

On December 18, 2017 Bryant became the first player in NBA history to have two different numbers retired by the same team. He wore No. 8 and No. 24 as a member of the Lakers, both of which now hang in the rafters at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. Even with the Lakers and Clippers off with the Grammys in Los Angeles, scores of fans showed up at the STAPLES Center to remember Bryant. The Lakers and Clippers play each other on Wednesday.

After retiring from the NBA, Bryant opened a production company and entered the entertainment field. He won an Academy Award in 2018 for his contributions to “Dear Basketball,” an animated short about his relationship to the game. He also produced content for ESPN.

The NBA had reportedly sent a confirmation of Bryant’s and Gianna’s deaths to all teams and league employees Sunday afternoon. The other victims of the crash included John Altobelli, a longtime baseball coach at Orange Coast College, a junior college in Costa Mesa. California, as well as Altobelli’s wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa.

Rest In Peace Kobe Bryant.

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