People all over the world mourned and grieved upon hearing the news of the basketball legend Kobe Bryant yielding to a plane crash, January 26th. The 41-year-old NBA player of the Los Angeles Lakers was in a helicopter with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna when the vehicle crashed near Calabasas, California, leaving the two with seven other victims dead. They were headed to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, the New York Times reported.
Tributes and expressions of grief are continuous throughout the world.
Here is his final tweet, with a dedication to his fellow NBA superstar, LeBron James.
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
Kobe Bryant: #MambaOut
Kobe Bryant played his entire career, spanning 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association with his home team, Los Angeles Lakers. Upon graduating high school, he was drafted to the NBA and went victorious with five NBA championships. He was an 18-time NBA All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA team, the Most Valuable Player in 2008, and a 12-time member of the All-Defensive team. His legacy lives on.
24 best moments
Record-breaking 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors
On January 22nd, 2006, the late NBA player earned a record-breaking 81-point in the Los Angeles Lakers’ match against the Toronto Raptors. It was the most number of scores in the history of LA Lakers, and second-most all-time, coming after the 100-point from Wilt Chamberlain in the 1960s.
He scored 28 points out of 46 shots, with 18 free throws within 42 minutes. Then during the third quarter, he garnered 27 points, adding 28 more points in the final quarter. This includes two assists.
The alley-oop to Shaquille O’Neal at Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals in 2000
From 2000 to 2002, both Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal made three consecutive wins, but the greatest of them all was during the 2000 Western Conference Finals. They were in a 3-1 series lead vs the Portland Trail Blazers, with Damon Stoudamire, Scottie Pippen, and Rasheed Wallace.
This particular pass became a domineering moment for the NBA that lasted for about three years. He dribbled toward the laine and had a high, arcing pass, with O’Neal in the finish.
Kobe’s First All-Star Game MVP
The moment when he won the All-Star MVP award after the gameplay with 76ers in the NBA Finals 2001 will be remembered in basketball history.
Gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics
The U.S. Dream Team lost its luster after the Olympics in Barcelona. They missed this grip on the sports for over 10 years, until the team once again gained the gold medal during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They went 8-0, with Kobe averaging 15.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.1 steals.
The 62-point game versus the Dallas Mavericks
Prior to the 81-point game was the 62-point game against the Dallas Mavericks in 2005. Within just 32 minutes, Kobe gained 62 points on a total of 31 shots, earning a huge gap from the Lakers against the Mavericks. The gap was so far ahead, the shooting guard stayed on the bench on the duration of the final quarter.
Emphasizing the participation of the Lakers in the 2000 NBA Finals
The 2000 NBA Finals was Los Angeles Lakers’’s bout for their first NBA title after 12 years. With a 2-1 lead against the Indiana Pacers, the team further increased momentum with the then 21-year-old Kobe Bryant making three clutch shots, securing them a 120 over 118 win right in their opponent’s home court. It was during Game 4, and the player even suffered from an injury in his ankle, but still managed to win big.
Tension with Matt Barnes
You wouldn’t this moment when local and international basketball fans saw Bryant’s resolved after the ball which Matt Barnes passed almost landed on his face. The fake pass went through a few inches from him.
Free throws while injured
This didn’t happen during one of their training, but right at a televised match. It was during their match with the Golden State in 2013 when the 34-year-old Bryant suffered from an injury in his left ankle. He never backed out, but stayed on and even had two free throws that tied the game to a score of 109 before heading out of the court.
That moment, the hurt his left Achilles tendon, which was one of the worst injuries an athlete could go through.
Revenge at the Celtics, 2010
After snagging three titles in a row with O’Neal, he had to wait until the 2009 season to once again claim the Larry O’Brien trophy, during which his team beat the Orlando Magic, 4-1. However, what happened next year proved to be sweeter.
They played the game against the Boston Celtics, full of power in this revenge match with their arch-rivals during the Finals two years ago. With his entire team, they emerged winner at 83-79 in front of the home crowd at Staples Center, and even tasted more victory winning his second consecutive MVP award.
1997 Slam Dunk
And who could ever forget the 1997 Slam Dunk where the younger Kobe was still making his way toward becoming a legend, while others saidying he was trying to re-create the career of Michael Jordan.
The win at the East Coast
This was the time in 2009 when Los Angeles Lakers conquered the East Coast, particularly in New York when Bryant did 61 points at Madison Square Garden, with the team defeating the Knicks at 126-117. The New Yorkers were at their home court, the support was for the Knicks but come what may, they never feared to cheer the Lakers.
The youngest player to start the NBA
It was on January 28th, 1997, and at 18 years old, he was the youngest ever in NBA history to begin an NBA game. Afterward, the chatted with sports broadcaster Chick Hearn to talk about the entire experience.
His first All-Star Game, February 1998
Despite starting out as a bench player like many would do, Bryant already earned recognition from the fans. During his first All-Star Game in 1998, he was the second-leading scorer and had the eyes of the world glued on what this young basketball athlete could do in the near future.
The Yao Ming encounter
Sports analysts called it “posterizing Yao Ming.”
40 points in a month are above average
In February 2003, Kobe averaged 40 points in a month. The video clips and every courtside review can show it. He blasted in each of his games, and these numbers aren’t questionable.
26 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
April 2003 dunk on Vincent Yarbrough
Drunks are fun to watch, especially with this basketball superstar dunking it on on Vincent Yarbrough.
Kobe’s first Lakers lead
It was during the match against the Pistons in 1997 when Bryant experienced his first lead for the Lakers in scoring
Pre-NBA and more
High school basketball game at Lower Merion
Even in high school, Bryant was a tough force in the basketball scene. Pre-NBA, he was a treasured player at Lower Merion.
The never-released album
Did you know Kobe also had a rap album but was never released? It was titled “K.O.B.E.”
Clinching the 2004 division crown
OT’s are cliff-hangers in a basketball game, and with this during the fight for the 2004 Pacific Division crown, Kobe was in the spotlight. Why wouldn’t he? Aside from scoring 37 points, the also defeated the Blazers, 105-104, earning them the 2004 Pacific Division crown.
Retirement and accolades
‘Mamba Out’ with 60 on the Jazz
Among the final memorable moments in his career was his 60 points on 22-of-50 shots during a game against the Utah Jazz on April 13th, 2016. The strength of his performance at this age, considering the younger players in different teams, is one that’s still difficult to beat.
His announcement to retire
After that game, he faced the crowd saying, “From the bottom of my heart, thank you…Mamba out,” and gave the audience a kiss. The announcement was about his retirement after the 2016 season.
The Academy Award
Not all the time that you will see sports personalities in awarding ceremonies like the Oscars. However, around two years after his NBA retirement, he received an award from the entertainment industry. “Dear Basketball” director Glen Keane received the award with Kobe, and the award was Best Animated Short Film.
“It’s a message for all of us. Whatever form your dream may take, it’s through passion and perseverance that the impossible is possible,” Keane said.