A retrospect of the life and career of Kobe Bryant
Sports is something that we turn to in order to get away from the hardships and tragedies of life. But sometimes tragedy finds its way to our beloved sports, and that is just what has happened on January 26, 2020.
Kobe Bryant is one of the most unmistakable players in NBA history, and an American icon. He was the face of the NBA for a generation. Bryant's untimely death has shocked the NBA, the nation and indeed the world. He was more than just an NBA player, he was a celebrity and an icon.
Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. he was 41 years old.
He played 20 years in the NBA, all for the Los Angeles Lakers, and was an 18 time all-star, a 15 time all-NBA team,12 time all-NBA defensive team, 5 time NBA champion, 4 time All-star game MVP, 2 time Finals MVP, and the 2008 Regular season MVP. Kobe had one of the greatest careers in NBA history.
He is one of the few players straight from high-school to the NBA to have had success. He was the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets and was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac. He struggled his first few years in the NBA coming off the bench.
Despite coming off the bench he was voted an all-star starter in 1998. The following season he finally became a full-time starter and averaged just under 20 points a game.
In the 2000 season Kobe finally took that step to NBA stardom, averaging 23 points per game. That season the Lakers would go on to win their first title since the 1980s, and Kobe and the Lakers would win two more titles the next two years.
The 2004 season brought a lot of controversy for Bryant. He was accused of sexual misconduct in Colorado. After a months long trial and court case, the chargers were dropped and a settlement was made out of court. 2004 also saw the Lakers assemble a super team with Kobe, Shaq, Karl Malone and Gary Payton. The Lakers would end up losing to the Pistons in the finals that year and that team would break up after just one season.
Following the departure of Shaq, Kobe finally became the face of the Laker and Kobe's scoring jumped to over 30 points a game. The Lakers record struggled but Kobe would put on a show every night and became the face of the NBA. He won his only MVP award in 2008.
The Lakers got back on track when they acquired Pau Gasol and Kobe helped the Lakers win two more titles in 2009 and 2010.
Injuries became a contract problem during Kobe's last few season. He got injured at the end of the 2013 season and missed the post season. He re-injured himself early in the 2014 season and played just 6 games. The following season he managed to play in just 35 games. His final season in the NBA, the 2016 season, seen Kobe appear in 65 games for the Lakers. His final game he went for a memorable outburst of 60 points in a comeback win vs the Jazz.
In retirement Kobe became a champion of women's sports, encouraging his daughters in their sporting endeavors and supporting the WNBA and the US Women's National Team.
Kobe would frequently use his personal helicopter to travel between his residence and the Staples Center. This is reported to be the same helicopter that Bryant was on when it crashed.
The NBA and the world will miss him greatly. His death will be one of those tragic moments in sports history that all fans will remember when they heard about it.