It is difficult to think fervent and NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, whose talent soul made him among the decorated and most well-known athletes ever, is now gone.
Read 9 Dead in Plane Crash: Kobe Bryant, Daughter Gianna & other Dies in Helicopter Crash
He had been the rare actress who did not require a name. Oprah. LeBron. Beyonce. Kobe. Everybody knew who you talked about.
Still young at 41, Bryant – who perished in a helicopter accident Sunday at California – seemed like he could match up and fall 30 points onto a rival NBA team. It does not appear that long ago he had been scoring 60 points in his final NBA game, soaking up Los Angeles Lakers fans who worshiped him as among the city’s favorite sons’ cheers.
Kobe Bryant was a giant who inspired, amazed, and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court — and awed us with his intellect and humility as a father, husband, creative genius, and ambassador for the game he loved. pic.twitter.com/hkb0lbRwie
— Mayor Eric Garcetti (@MayorOfLA) January 26, 2023
Following his 20-year NBA profession — all with the Lakers — Bryant is all but assured of becoming a first-ballot inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame later this season.
“He was a ferocious competition, among the greats of the sport plus a creative power,” said fellow NBA celebrity Michael Jordan.
An 18-time All-Star, Bryant was famous for his outstanding scoring capability — his turnaround jumper was almost unstoppable — his championship pedigree. He won two rings, in 2009 and 2010 and awakened to win NBA titles.
Called the Black Mamba — a nickname that he gave himself Bryant twice led the NBA in scoring and won the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2008.
Bryant’s daughter Gianna, 13, has been together with her dad on the helicopter and was murdered in the wreck, a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN.