Factfile on 18-time NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash Sunday at age 41 after playing his entire 20-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers:
Name: Kobe Bryant
Former Team: Los Angeles Lakers (1996-2016)
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Born: August 23, 1978
Died January 26, 2020
Height: 6feet, 6inches, 1.98m
Weight: 212lbs, 96kg
– Bryant was the son of Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant, who played eight seasons in the NBA
– Bryant spent eight years of his childhood with his family in Italy
– Bryant married Vanessa Laine, April 18, 2001. Daughter Natalia was born in January, 2003; daughter Gianna was born May, 2006; daughter Bianka was born December, 2016 and daughter Capri was born June, 2019
– Bryant won five NBA championships — 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010
– Named NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in leading Lakers to titles in 2009 and 2010
– Earned Olympic gold medals with USA at 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics
– Named NBA regular-season MVP in 2007-08 season and a record-tying four-time NBA All-Star Game MVP — 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011
– On January 22, 2006 scored a career-high 81 points in Lakers’ 122-104 victory over Toronto, second-most points in a game in NBA history
– In 2018, his movie “Dear Basketball” won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
– Selected with 13th overall choice by Charlotte Hornets in 1996 NBA draft, becoming the 27th player to join NBA straight from high school.
– Acquired by Lakers shortly after draft
– Named an NBA All-Star 18 times – 1998 and 2000-2016
– Two-time NBA scoring champion – 2006 and 2007
– 1997 NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner
– Had both his jersey numbers, 8 and 24, retired by the Lakers, an unprecedented move
– Scored 33,643 points, grabbed 7,047 rebounds and passed off 6,306 assists over 1,346 career NBA games
– Scored a season-high 60 points in his last NBA game on April 13, 2016 in a 101-96 Lakers’ victory over Utah, becoming the oldest player in NBA history to score 60 points at 37 years and 234 days
Some of the significant injuries that affected Bryant during his career:
– Broken metacarpal bone in right hand, 1999-00 season
– Right index finger laceration, sprained right shoulder, 2003-04
– Severely sprained right ankle, 2004-05
– Index finger avulsion fracture, right knee swelling, sprained left ankle, 2009-10
– Torn left Achilles tendon requiring surgery, 2012-13
How people on Twitter reacted to reports of the death of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant on Sunday:
“Just devastated to hear about #KobeBryant. An extraordinary athlete, and a genuinely kind, wonderful man. Sending love, prayers & compassion to his family. To his entire @NBA family as well.”
— Oscar winning actress Reese Witherspoon
“Heart going out to the Bryant family right now. RIP Kobe Bryant.”
— US women’s footballer and World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe
“Kobe – you were a true inspiration to me as an athlete. I always admired your professionalism, drive and dedication. Our thoughts are with your loved ones. RIP.”
— Tennis star Kim Clijsters
“Like everyone, I’m stunned and saddened to hear the horrific news about Kobe Bryant. Thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this terribly sad time #RIPKobeBryant.”
— Australian cricket legend Shane Warne
“@kobebryant Gone much too soon, how devastating to hear of his passing, he gave joy to so many for so long – deep condolences to his family, his friends, his Laker family. RIP Kobe… #lifeistooshort.”
— Tennis great Martina Navratilova
“Heartbreaking news! Hard to fathom @kobebryant is gone. Just had their 4th child. 41 years old. #insane. RIP Kobe.”
— Former US tennis star Tracy Austin
“We miss you already Kobe.”
— NFL Super Bowl winner Tom Brady
“This is unreal.”
— LPGA golfer Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods
“I truly can’t believe this. My heart is so heavy. Rest In Peace Kobe. What an unimaginable loss. All of my prayers to your loved ones.”
— Former US Open tennis champion Sloane Stephens
“Life is so precious man. I was a huge fan. RIP Mamba.”
— US tennis player Mardy Fish
“Kobe Bryant you’re an angel. RIP to you legend. So kind and had time for everyone. The epitome of class and hard work. An Idol. Prayers to his family.”
— US footballer Jozy Altidore
“Hard to believe. RIP #KobeBryant #MambaMentality.”
— US golfer Bryson DeChambeau
“On behalf of myself, the players and staff at AS Roma, we join the rest of the sporting world in mourning the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant. Kobe was a true icon and our thoughts are now with his family and the families of all of the victims aboard that flight.”
— Jim Pallotta, the owner of Italian football giants AS Roma
“Shock right now. RIP KOBE.”
— World golf number one Brooks Koepka
“The moment you realise life ain’t something to fuck with! If you feel something tell that person! If you miss someone tell that person.. you never know when your time is up!”
— Australian rugby union international Quade Cooper
“I just found out 5 minutes ago and I still can’t believe it… Another example of how fragile life is, let’s enjoy it while we can. (And avoid helicopters until they are safer). DEP Kobe and the other 5 victims.”
— Spain’s former world motorcycling champion Jorge Lorenzo
“LA has lost one of our true superstars. Stunning to hear about the tragic and untimely death of #KobeBryant My heart goes out to his family and all the fans who will feel this loss so deeply.”
— Hollywood actress Tara Buck
“Speechless and shocked!! REST IN HEAVEN MAMBA.”
— German football international Kevin-Prince Boateng
NBA legend Kobe Bryant died Sunday when a helicopter he was riding in crashed and burst into flames in thick fog, killing all nine people on board including his teenage daughter and plunging the sports world into mourning.
Bryant, 41, was travelling with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other passengers and crew when their Sikorsky S-76 helicopter slammed into a rugged hillside in Calabasas, west of Los Angeles. There were no survivors.
Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist, is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players in history, an iconic figure who became one of the faces of his sport during a glittering two-decade career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Dozens of firefighters and paramedics battled across steep terrain to reach the flaming wreckage at the crash site but found no survivors, officials said.
The National Transportation Safety Board said an 18-strong team of investigators would be sent to California to probe the causes of the crash.
Bryant’s death sent shockwaves throughout the world, with basketball stars stunned by the news.
“Laker Nation, the game of basketball & our city, will never be the same without Kobe,” former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson wrote on Twitter.
Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan said Bryant was “like a little brother” to him.
“Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling,” Jordan said. “We used to talk often and I will miss those conversations very much.”
Tributes to Bryant flooded in from former US presidents, pop stars and athletes from different sports, a sign of how the man known as the “Black Mamba” had transcended basketball.
“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act,” former US President Barack Obama wrote on Twitter.
American football star Tom Brady wrote simply: “We miss you already Kobe.”
Brazilian soccer star Neymar paid tribute to Bryant after scoring for his French club side Paris Saint-Germain, making the number 24 — Bryant’s old shirt number — with his fingers.
At the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, several hundred shocked fans gathered to pay tribute as the venue which witnessed many of Bryant’s career highlights hosted the music industry’s Grammy Awards.
“This dude is everything to me man. It makes no sense,” said distraught Lakers fan Bobby Jimenez, sobbing as he stood outside the venue.
The Grammys got underway with a somber tribute from singer Alicia Keys.
“To be honest with you, we’re all feeling crazy sadness right now,” Keys told the audience. “Los Angeles, America, and the whole wide world lost a hero. And we’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
Across the NBA, tributes were held at several of the eight games scheduled for Sunday.
Denver Nuggets fans began chants of “Kobe, Kobe” as a minute’s silence was held before their game against the Houston Rockets.
In New York, Madison Square Garden was lit up in purple and gold colors of the Lakers, alongside a giant image of Bryant captioned: “Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020.”
The crash came only hours after Bryant was passed by current Lakers star LeBron James for third on the all-time NBA scoring list in a Saturday game at Philadelphia.
Bryant’s final post on social media had been a tweet congratulating James on surpassing him.
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames,” Bryant wrote. “Much respect my brother #33644”.
Bryant was a five-time NBA champion in a career that began in 1996 straight out of a high school and lasted until his retirement in 2016.
He also was a two-time Olympic gold medalist, helping spark the US squad of NBA stars to titles in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London.
Bryant bowed out of the NBA in 2016, scoring 60 points in his final appearance before his adoring fans at the Staples Center.
It was a fairytale farewell to a sporting career that began two decades earlier.
The son of former NBA player Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, the Lakers legend was born in Philadelphia in 1978 while his father played for the 76ers.
The elder Bryant played from 1984 to 1991 in Italy, giving young Kobe a global worldview as he grew up dreaming of following his dad into the NBA.
He would eventually join the ranks of professionals at the age of 17, jumping directly into the NBA, only the sixth player and first guard to make such a leap.
At 18, Bryant became, at the time, the youngest player or starter in an NBA game and the youngest winner of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
With Bryant paired alongside Shaquille O’Neal, the Lakers captured three NBA crowns in a row from 2000-2002, returning the team to glory days unseen since 1988.
Bryant’s career was almost derailed in 2003 when he was arrested in Colorado over a sexual assault complaint filed by a 19-year-old hotel employee where Bryant was staying ahead of knee surgery.
Bryant was accused of rape. He admitted to adultery but said he did not commit rape. The case was dropped in 2004 after the accuser refused to testify in a trial.
A separate civil suit was settled under terms kept private.
Bryant saw out his career with the Lakers, successfully branching out into the entertainment industry following his retirement.
In 2018, he won an Oscar for his animated short film “Dear Basketball”, a love letter to the sport which brought him fame and fortune.
“I am doing all right. I am playing on it. I let the ice take care of its business,” he said.
Kyle Kuzma scored a team-high 24 points and Anthony Davis added 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists in the win.
Coach Frank Vogel said the Lakers needed to clean up the mistakes that caused them to suffer their longest losing streak of the season.
“We got a win and we are all happy about it,” he said. “We made some adjustments to things that were hurting us the last couple of games.”
Damian Lillard recorded 31 points and nine assists for the Trail Blazers, who lost their third straight game.
Elsewhere, Kyle Lowry scored 30 points as the Toronto Raptors avenged a Christmas Day loss to Boston with a 113-97 rematch victory over the Celtics.
Serge Ibaka finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Raptors snapped a two-game losing skid which included a 118-102 loss to Boston on Wednesday, as the two Eastern Conference contenders were playing for the second time in less than 72 hours.
Patrick McCaw had 18 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists, while a resurgent Fred VanVleet also scored 18 points in the win for the defending NBA champs. Lowry also had seven assists in front of the crowd of 19,100 at the Boston Garden arena.
“It didn’t sit well with me on Christmas Day,” McCaw said. “We definitely didn’t give it our best effort and I think tonight guys took it personally. It wasn’t talked about. Guys just went out and gave it their all.”
Kemba Walker scored 30 points for the Celtics, who had their five-game winning streak halted.
“We beat those guys two times already (this season), and obviously a few days ago on Christmas,” Walker said. “They definitely remembered that, of course. But those are the defending champs. They’ve got a target on their back, you know? They’re the team to beat.”
The injury-hit Raptors managed to slow down Jaylen Brown, who finished with 17 points. Gordon Hayward (13), Jayson Tatum (12) and Enes Kanter (11) also reached double figures in scoring.
McCaw got a layup in the first quarter to give the Raptors the lead and start a quarter ending 19-8 run.
Terence Davis’ putback gave the Raptors an 89-79 lead heading into the fourth, and Ibaka’s layup with 10:11 remaining lengthened the lead to double digits for good. Toronto led by as many as 17 over the final 12 minutes.
The Raptors were playing without forwards Norman Powell (shoulder) and Pascal Siakam (groin), as well as centre Marc Gasol (hamstring).
Also, Luka Doncic tallied 31 points, 15 assists, and 12 rebounds to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 141-121 victory over the hapless Golden State Warriors.
The triple-double was the ninth of the season for Doncic and ties the franchise record set by Jason Kidd in 1995-96. Doncic also made five three-pointers as Dallas set a franchise record by making 24 from behind the arc. The old mark of 22 took place three times.
Tim Hardaway made six three-pointers and scored 25 points and Kristaps Porzingis made four three-pointers while adding 18 points as the Mavericks won for the 15th time in the last 20 games.
D’Angelo Russell scored a game-high 35 points in the loss.
In New Orleans, Brandon Ingram scored 24 points, and a half dozen teammates also scored in double figures as the New Orleans Pelicans cruised past the Indiana Pacers 120-98.
Jrue Holiday added 20 points, JJ Redick scored 15 and E’Twaun Moore and Josh Hart came off the bench to score 11 each for the Pelicans.
Jrue, Justin, and Aaron Holiday became the first trio of brothers to play in a NBA game when Justin checked in for the Pacers with 5:13 left in the first quarter. Jrue started for New Orleans and Aaron started for Indiana.
“It was cool,” Jrue said. “What happened was Justin was about to come in and (coach) was about take me out. I told him no I was staying in just because of the moment like that.”
Due to the age difference between the brothers — Justin is 30, while Aaron is 23 — the three have never played in the same game before, even as children.