NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, has declared that NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna in Sunday morning helicopter crash.
“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals. But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.
“We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world.”
Kobe Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
He entered the NBA directly from high school and won five NBA championships. Bryant is an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, 12-time member of the All-Defensive team and was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2008. Widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he led the NBA in scoring during two seasons, ranks fourth on the league’s all-time regular season scoring and fourth on the all-time postseason scoring list. Bryant is the first guard in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons.
Bryant is the son of former NBA player Joe Bryant. He enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania, where he was recognized as the top high school basketball player in the country.
Upon graduation, he declared for the 1996 NBA draft and was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 13th overall pick; the Hornets then traded him to the Lakers. As a rookie, Bryant earned himself a reputation as a high-flyer and a fan favorite by winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest, and he was named an All-Star by his second season.
Despite a feud between the two players, Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000 to 2002.
At 34 years and 104 days of age, Bryant became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points. He became the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history on February 1, 2010 when he surpassed Jerry West. During his third year in the league, Bryant was chosen to start the All-Star Game, and he would continue to be selected to start that game for a record 18 consecutive appearances until his retirement.
His four All-Star MVP Awards are tied with Bob Pettit for the most in NBA history. At the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, he won gold medals as a member of the U.S. national team. In 2018, Bryant won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his film Dear Basketball.
He died on January 26, 2020, in a helicopter crash outside of Calabasas, California, at the age of 41.