KOBE BRYANT

Kobe Bean Bryant, born August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and died January 26, 2020, in Calabasas, California, is an American basketball player who played in the Los Angeles Lakers NBA franchise for 20 seasons between 1996 and 2016. A five-time NBA champion, he is one of seven players to have scored more than 30,000 career points.

Selected 13th in the 1996 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets as a high school student, he immediately transferred to the Los Angeles Lakers. After several seasons as an NBA apprentice, he and Shaquille O'Neal formed one of the most dominant duets in NBA history, scoring an historic hat-trick in 2000, 2001 and 2002. After failing in the 2004 finals, he became the leader of his team and performed individually, although he was blamed for his lack of selflessness at the time. In 2006, he scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, his second performance in NBA history.

He changed his No. 8 to No. 24 before the 2006-07 season, which he finished as the top scorer. In 2008, he was named the top regular season player (MVP). He wins two more titles in 2009 and 2010. After several missed attempts and three injury-plagued seasons, Kobe Bryant ended his career on April 13, 2016, after a final game in which he scored 60 points. After 20 seasons in the same franchise, he recorded 1,346 NBA games and scored a total of 33,643 points. He was named the NBA's Player of the Decade in 2000. Bryant is also a two-time 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion with Team USA. On December 18, 2017, his two jerseys (numbers 8 and 24) were retired by the Los Angeles Lakers and were engraved on the top of the Staples Center along with other franchise legends. To date, Kobe Bryant is the only player in NBA history to have two numbers engraved on the ceiling of the same franchise.

On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, along with seven other passengers, died in a helicopter crash in California, plunging the sporting world and beyond into mourning across the globe.

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