NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna 'Gigi' Bryant, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, Sunday. He was 41 years old. Check out some of the highlights from the Black Mamba's illustrious career, which included everything from NBA championships to Academy Award wins. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Kobe Bryant had one of the most celebrated basketball careers in the entire history of the NBA.
It all started in the Philadelphia suburb of Lower Merion, where Bryant had been a star at Lower Merion High School. In his four years starting for the Aces, Bryant accumulated 2,883 points to become the all-time leading scorer in Southeastern Pennsylvania high school history.
Source: ESPN Despite garnering multiple offers to play college hoops at top programs like Duke, North Carolina, Michigan, and Villanova, Bryant decided to try his luck in the 1996 NBA Draft.
After a trade with the Charlotte Hornets, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Bryant straight out of high school with the 13th overall pick in the draft.
It took him some time to adjust to the pros, but once Bryant hit his stride, no one in the NBA was able to stop him.
During his second season in Los Angeles, Bryant became the youngest All-Star in NBA history at just 19 years old.
But the 21st century was when Bryant transformed from a budding star to a bona fide legend.
He was an NBA All-Star from 2000 to 2016, making the All-NBA first team 11 times in that span and earning All-Star game MVP accolades in 2002, 2007, 2009, and 2011.
He also brought home his first championship ring in 2000, contributing 15.6 points per game in the Lakers' winning effort over the Indiana Pacers.
He and Shaquille O'Neal would lead Los Angeles to three consecutive NBA Finals victories.
After O'Neal left the franchise in 2004, Bryant became the sole star in Los Angeles. And though it took the Lakers a few years to regain their footing, the Black Mamba enjoyed some of his most prolific years once they did.
He dropped a career-high 81 points in a single game in 2006, which ranks second all-time behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point showing in 1962.
And, two years later, he earned his first and only NBA MVP accolades after posting 28.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game en route to the NBA Finals.
And he got back to his winning ways just one year later, leading the Lakers past the Orlando Magic with 32.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game en route to Finals MVP honors.
Then he did it again in 2010, this time against the Lakers' arch-rival Boston Celtics. He led all scorers with 28.6 points per game and an incredible 38-point showing in game five.
He also won Olympic gold medals with Team USA in 2008 and 2012.
Bryant's career took a turn in 2013 when he suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in a game against the Golden State Warriors. He famously took — and made — both of his free throws before exiting the court.
After enduring various other injuries over the next few seasons, Bryant decided to retire after the 2015-16 season.
In his final game, Bryant famously scored an NBA season-high 60 points to cap his sensational career.
The five-time NBA champion spent his entire 20-year professional career with the Lakers, and the franchise repaid his loyalty by retiring both his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys.
Even though Kobe made his name on the court, his star power didn't dull once his time in the league came to an end.
He started Kobe Inc. in 2018 to make investments in sports-related business ventures and struck gold when he invested in BODYARMOR sports drink.
He published a book that same year entitled "The Mamba Mentality: How I Play."
And he spent time breaking down NBA and WNBA players' games in "Detail" on ESPN+.
But arguably Bryant's most impressive off-court accomplishment was writing and narrating "Dear Basketball," the Academy Award-winning animated short about his love of basketball.
Bryant had begun to pass his love of the game on to his daughter, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant before they both tragically died in a helicopter accident in January of 2020.
And even though his legacy won't live on through her, Bryant has inspired countless athletes across the entire world of sports.
Given all of his accomplishments on the court and off, there's little doubt Mamba changed the game of basketball and the scope of an athlete's influence in his 41 years of life.
Now check out how the sports world is reacting to Kobe's untimely death:
The sports world is reacting to the sudden and tragic death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant
More like this (3)
'Now he got me having to look at another crying meme for the next 3 years': Michael Jordan provided a moment of levity at the memorial service for Kobe and Gigi Bryant
The NBA world mourned the loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi at the Staples...The NBA world mourned the loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi at the Staples Center on Monday. Celebrities from Los Angeles as well as superstars from around the NBA gathered to pay their respects to Bryant, and share stories of their time with him. During his time at the podium, Michael Jordan provided the crowd with a much needed moment of levity, joking that he would once again become a meme as "Crying Jordan" after tearing up on stage. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The NBA world gathered at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to mourn the loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna "Gigi" Bryant on Monday. While the gathering was a somber one, there were moments of levity, with former teammates sharing fond memories of the Lakers superstar, and former rivals paying their respects to Bryant one last time. Michael Jordan offered a touching eulogy for Bryant. "Kobe left nothing in the tank," Jordan began. "He left it all on the floor." "Kobe was my dear friend, he was like my little brother," Jordan said. "Everybody always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I. I just wanted to talk about Kobe." At one point, Jordan teared up, and provided a much-needed moment of levity in the midst of some depressing circumstances, referencing the "Crying Jordan" meme that was inescapable for years. "Now he's got me... I'll have to look at another crying meme for the next..." Jordan said, tears streaming down his face, before getting cut off by laughs and applause. "I told my wife I wasn't going to do this because I didn't want to see this for the next three or four years. That is what Kobe Bryant does to me." Michael Jordan provides some comic relief at the #KobeFarewell by bringing up his crying meme. 🤣 pic.twitter.com/7kAo7UxqPZ — Sporting News (@sportingnews) February 24, 2020 You can watch Jordan's whole speech below. “As I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be.”Michael Jordan on Kobe Bryant. pic.twitter.com/dTSp7VDosP — NBA TV (@NBATV) February 24, 2020 Read more: 'She was so full of life': Vanessa Bryant laments not being able to watch her daughter grow up at the memorial for Gianna and Kobe Michael Jordan's birthday party in Chicago featured a replica of Kobe Bryant's Lakers jersey — made entirely out of flowers Players and coaches at Kobe Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy describe the devastating moment they heard about the athlete's death WATCH: Los Angeles Lakers honor Kobe Bryant with stunning video celebration of his life and career This timeline shows everything we know — and what we don't — about the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and 7 other peopleJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 5 things about the NFL that football fans may not know
LeBron James gave a loving eulogy to his 'brother' Kobe Bryant before the Lakers first game since tragic helicopter accident
The Los Angeles Lakers offered an emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant on Friday night before their...The Los Angeles Lakers offered an emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant on Friday night before their first game since his tragic death. After a series of performances and a video remembrance, LeBron James walked out to the center of the court to give a speech in honor of the Lakers legend. LeBron James had a speech prepared, but threw it aside in favor of speaking from the heart while speaking about his "brother." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. LeBron James offered a loving remembrance of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant on Friday night at the Staples Center. The Lakers were set to play the Portland Trail Blazers in their first game since Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Sunday just outside Los Angeles, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others on board. Ahead of the game, the team and fans celebrated Bryant's life with a number of tributes, from wearing No. 8 and 24 during pregame warmups and a 24-second moment of silence, to performances by Usher, Boyz II Men, and cellist Ben Hong. After those ceremonies, LeBron took the center of the court. James first acknowledged all of those affected by the tragedy, reading off the names of all nine victims on board. He then pulled out a piece of paper. "Now, I've got something written down. They asked me to kind of stay on course," James began. "But Laker Nation I would be selling you short if I read from this s---, so I'm gonna speak from the heart." LeBron told the crowd to "lean on the shoulders of their family," and celebrated Laker Nation and how the team and its fans had come together over their week of mourning. "Now I know at some point we'll have a memorial for Kobe, but I look at this as a celebration tonight," James said. "Kobe is a brother to me," James said. "From the time I was in high school, watching him from afar, to getting in this league at 18, watching him up close. All of the battles that we had throughout my career. The one thing that we always shared was that determination to just want to win, and just want to be great. And the fact that I'm here now means so much to me. I want to continue along with my teammates, to continue his legacy not only for this year, but for as long as we can play the game of basketball, because that's what Kobe Bryant would want." "So in the words of Kobe Bryant, 'Mamba Out.' But in the of us, 'Not forgotten.' Live on brother." James and Bryant shared a close relationship as NBA peers, Team USA teammates, and as Los Angeles Lakers. The day before Bryant's death, James had passed him for third-place on the all-time NBA scoring list. Bryant's last tweet was congratulating James for his accomplishment and his continuing effort to "move the game forward." With his speech on Friday night, James did just that. Read more: Vanessa Bryant announced a fund to direct donations to other families of victims of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe and Gianna 'My spirit just left my body': Shaquille O'Neal gives an emotional speech about teammate Kobe Bryant Jimmy Fallon shares a story about meeting Kobe Bryant at a party and going on a beer run in a touching tribute to the Lakers legend Tracy McGrady says Kobe Bryant used to tell him early in his career that he wanted to 'die young' and be 'immortalized' How Kobe Bryant became one of the NBA's all-time greatest players and an almost mythical figure in the processJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 5 things about the NFL that football fans may not know
Star’s daughter, Gianna, also among victims of crashKobe Bryant: a life in picturesLA Lakers fans gather...Star’s daughter, Gianna, also among victims of crashKobe Bryant: a life in picturesLA Lakers fans gather to pay tributeThe NBA, and much of America, was in shock on Sunday after Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest basketball players in history, died in a helicopter crash. He was 41.Bryant was on board the helicopter with eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, when it crashed at 10am local time near Calabasas, 30 miles north-west of downtown Los Angeles, in foggy weather. The crash ignited brushfires, making it hard for rescue crews to get close to the site. There were no survivors. Bryant, who lived in the area for most of his life often used helicopters to beat Los Angeles’ heavy traffic, and on Sunday he was taking Gianna to play in a basketball game at his academy outside the city. Continue reading...