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Thread: Kobe Bryant, Lakers legend and NBA great, dies at 41 in helicopter crash

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    Kobe Bryant, Lakers legend and NBA great, dies at 41 in helicopter crash

    Kobe Bryant, Lakers legend and NBA great, dies at 41 in helicopter crash

    One of the greatest players in NBA history, Bryant was one of five aboard the helicopter

    Jan 26, 2020 at 4:28 pm ET
    Kobe Bryant died Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. He was 41. The former Los Angeles Lakers legend and NBA superstar was among five people killed in the crash. An investigation of the crash is ongoing, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which confirmed there are no survivors.
    Bryant, an Orange County resident, famously took a helicopter to games and practices while playing for the Lakers as a means of avoiding traffic and the confined space of a car. He continued doing so in his retirement for business and personal reasons.
    The fourth-leading scorer in NBA history with 33,643 career points, Bryant was a five-time NBA champion with the Lakers and 18-time NBA All-Star who was named the league's Most Valuable Player in 2008. He was twice an NBA Finals MVP and an 11-time All-NBA First Team selection. The two-time NBA scoring champion was known just as much for his prowess on the other end of the court, picking up nine selections to the NBA All-Defensive First Team.
    Beyond his NBA achievements, Bryant, who spent much of his youth in Italy, had a celebrated international career as one of the catalysts behind Team USA's renaissance after earning only a Bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics. His commitment to play for Team USA in the 2008 Olympics helped in the recruitment of other superstars, and players on the team have spoken widely about his work ethic and the impact that he had on the team's mentality. He led the team to a narrow victory over Spain in the Gold Medal Game and played on the 2012 gold medal-winning team as well.
    Bryant is especially revered among Lakers fans. A high school phenomenon in Philadelphia and the son of former NBA player Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, Kobe was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996 but immediately traded to the Lakers for Vlade Divac.
    He was the youngest player in NBA history when he took the court in 1996 and spent his entire 20-year career in Los Angeles. Bryant ultimately played more games in purple and gold than anyone in franchise history and holding distinctions as the team's all-time leader in points, minutes and steals. His self-bestowed "Black Mamba" nickname has persisted well beyond his career. Players wear the distinction of having a "mamba mentality" as a badge of honor. As Bryant himself has said, that means "constantly try[ing] to be the best version of yourself."
    Both Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal -- Bryant's former teammate -- have called Bryant the greatest player in Lakers history, a statement that would be supported by millions of fans. Both of Bryant's jersey numbers -- 8 and 24 -- were retired by the Lakers. He is the only player in NBA history to have two numbers retired by the same team after wearing No. 8 for his first 10 seasons in the NBA and No. 24 for his final 10.
    Bryant was particularly known for his prodigious scoring ability. In one legendary game in 2006, Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second-most in NBA history trailing only Wilt Chamberlain's 100. He scored 60 points in his final NBA game in 2016, a record for any player in their finale.

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    Lost his 13-year-old daughter, too. Very sad indeed.
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    Indeed, very sad.
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