The Sports community was yester-night rocked with one of the saddest deaths in history when it emerged that NBA legend Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash in Carlifonia. It was also very unfortunate that the accident also took away the life of his 13 year old daughter Gianna Bryant. Kobe was on his way to her daughter’s training when the accident happened. Gianna was supposed to play a game with her travel team which is being coached by Kobe, her father at Kobe Bryant’ Mamba Sports Academy.
The death of the NBA legend has attracted tributes from all over the world including politicians, entertainers, athletes and even business men. The NBA fraternity was the most hard hit by the news with players who grew up watching the Mamba break records showing their emotions and heartfelt condolences to his family. The NBA all time great spent his 20 year career at the Lakers, helping them win 5 titles with three coming in a row.
Kobe was drafted into the NBA at only the age of 17, coming out as the 13th overall pick in 1996. He was drafted into the Charlotte Hornets on behalf of the Lakers, where he showed his potential at an early stage. He was later on traded to the Lakers in exchange for veteran center Vlade Divac.
He managed to restore the Lakers to glory alongside Hall of Famer Shaquille O’neal in 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons winning three championships in a row. He went on to become Lakers fulcrum as they again won 2 NBA championships in 2008-09, 2009-10 seasons. He became an iconic figure in Basketball and popularized his nick name the Black Mamba.
When he decided to hang his boots in 2016 after an unforgettable 60-point farewell game against the Utah Jazz, he had curved an unforgettable career if not a legendary tale of the “Black Mamba”. Here are some of the honors that the Black Mamba left behind:
- Fourth in the NBA All Time Scorers board with 33,643 points
- 5-times NBA Champion
- 18-times NBA All-Star Player
- 12-times NBA All-Defensive team
- 2-times Finals MVP
- 2007-08 NBA MVP
- 2-times NBA Scoring Champion
- 4-times NBA All-Star MVP
- Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short Film (Dear Basketball)
- 2016 ESPY Icon Award
- 2008 & 2010 Best NBA Player ESPY Award
- 2002, 2003 & 2008 BET Award for Sportsman of the Year
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The list is endless, a reflection of a true icon of the game. The chances of the NBA legend being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in August this year are already beyond any doubt.
THE GAME HAS LOST A TRUE LEGEND…
HIS LEGACY LIVES ON…