Kobe Bryant was one of the best basketball players of his generation. During his professional career, which lasted 20 seasons, playing only for the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant reached some of the highest levels of NBA stardom. The official website of the American Basketball Association has published a summary of Bryant’s most outstanding achievements, which have made him occupy an irreplaceable position in the history of this sport, along with other legendary figures, such as Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Larry Bird.
Kobe Bryant was one of the most popular athletes in the world, not only for offering spectacle on the court, but also for his professionalism. Bryant holds the record for winning the NBA Most Valuable Player Award most times (four times); he was the Most Valuable Player in the league in 2008, twice the NBA Scoring Champion and was selected 12 times as All-defensive (total defense). In addition, he was chosen 18 times as All-star by the NBA.
Additionally, Kobe Bryant was a two-time Olympic medalist. He won his first gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Japan. The second gold would come in the 2012 Olympic Games in London; in both matches, defeating Spain.
During his prolific career, he led the Lakers to victory on multiple occasions, playing side by side with other legendary athletes, such as Shaquille O'Neal, with whom he shared the NBA victory in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Later, he shared successes with Spaniard Pau Gasol to win two more titles in 2009 and 2010.
Outside the world of basketball, one of the most outstanding awards Kobe Bryant has received is an Oscar for the best animated short in 2018 Dear Basketball, with animator and illustrator Glen Keane. This is the adaptation of the farewell letter that Bryant wrote when he decided to hang up his shirt in 2016. In the last NBA game, before his official withdrawal, he scored 60 points.
On 26 January 2020, Kobe Bryan died in an unfortunate helicopter crash, along with eight other people, including his daughter Gianna, who was only 13 years old.
After his death, personalities from all walks of life expressed their condolences to the family and presented signs of affection and homage to the famous player.
Retired Lakers basketball player Earvin Magic Johnson, who had a personal relationship with Bryant and his family, tweeted his loss in these words: “My friend, the legend, husband, father, son, brother, winner of the Oscar and the best Laker of all time is gone. It’s hard to accept. Kobe was a leader of our game, a mentor for male and female players.”
On a personal level, those who knew him remember him as a positive and persevering person: “All the negative, both the pressure and the challenges, is an opportunity for me to grow,” he went on to say.
In addition, Kobe Bryant was strongly influenced by his family ties: “My parents are my backbone, and they still are. They are the only ones who will support you whether your score is zero, or if you score forty.”