The 41-year-old former NBA star was killed while in his private jet after crashing in California. The pilot, another girl and one of her parents also perished in the accident. “A sad day for all sports lovers in the world”
Former NBA star 41-year-old Kobe Bryant was killed (Sunday) in a California helicopter crash. The past basketball player was killed in an accident with one of his 13-year-old daughter, a friend, one of her parents, four other people and the pilot who also stayed in the private aircraft.
Bryant, who won five championships in the world’s best basketball league with the Los Angeles Lakers, was born in 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and played in the yellow-purple team uniform for 20 years. Bryant wore the number 8 on his game jersey, and after a few seasons for 24. The star ranks fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list and became the only basketball player to win an Oscar for his short film “Dear Basketball.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted in response to the star’s death: “I was sorry to hear of the tragedy in the United States, a sad day for all sports lovers in the world. In the world, he will not be forgotten. May he rest in peace. “
Kobe is the youngest of Joe and Pamela Bryant’s three children. His father, was also a basketball player for the Philadelphia 76ers. Kobe was named after a well-known steak dish in the city of Cuba, Japan, whose parents saw on the menu of a restaurant.
Bryant began playing basketball at the age of three, and at the age of six his father finished playing in the NBA, and his family left the United States and moved to Italy, where Bryant learned to speak Italian and Spanish on a regular basis. In 1991, the family returned to the United States.
The scene of the crash where Kobe Kobe Bryant was killed
The scene of the crash in which Kobe Kobe Bryant was killed Reuters
Bryant excelled during his high school years, and in his last year of high school, 1996-1995, led his team to its first high school championship in 53 years. He averaged 30.8 points per game this season, winning a number of personal awards, including the James Naismith High School Player of the Year Award.
After graduating from high school, Bryant decided to give up college and try his luck in the 1996 NBA Draft. At just 17, he was selected 13th in the draft by the Charlotte Hornets, and the team transferred him to the Lakers group in trade.
Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a basketball game | Reuters
A few years after being drafted, Bryant won three consecutive championships alongside Shaquille O’Neal, but after leaving the star failed to bring additional titles to the team from the West Coast. Prior to the 2008-2007 season, following the Lakers’ group setbacks in previous seasons, Bryant announced his desire to leave the team in case no senior player is brought in to improve it.
Bryant finally stayed in the Lakers, joining him during Spanish basketball season Pao Gasol of Memphis “Grizzlies.” With him reached the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, but lost to his opponent in six games. However, during the season Bryant won the first MVP title in his career.
A season later Bryant won his first championship without Shaquille O’Neal and also the MVP of the finals series. In the 2009 final, he defeated Orlando the Magic. Bryant managed to regain that feat the following season as well, winning his fifth and final championship in 2010, against his bitter rival the Celtics. At the end of the 2016 season, Bryant retired from his professional career.
It is important to note that Bryant was not free of controversies, both in his sports career and in his personal life. In 2003, Kobe Bryant was arrested for a rape complaint filed by a hotel worker in which the actor was staying after a knee surgery last summer.
The hotel worker claimed Bryant raped her in his room. Bryant admitted to having sex, but dismissed the allegations of rape. In 2004, the criminal case was closed because of the complainant’s decision not to testify against Bryant at trial.
During his professional career, Bryant participated in the Olympic Games as part of the United States national team. The star helped lead the Americans to a Beijing gold medal in 2008, becoming the team’s leading scorer. Bryant was also part of the US team in 2012, which also won a gold medal at the London Olympics.