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  • Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest players in NBA history, died in a helicopter crash on Sunday at the age of 41.

  • His 13-year-old daughter and several others on board also died.

  • Bryant, known by his nickname, Black Mamba, is being mourned as being one of the best basketball players of his generation.

  • Kobe Bryant straddles a couple of different eras of basketball.

  • He goes from the sort of, you know, smash-up/mash-up, you know, era of the '90s where you had, you know, tough teams like the Miami Heat and the Knicks to the kind of perimeter-focused, three-point shooting that you see nowadays.

  • In two decades with the Lakers, the 18-time all-star won five championships and scored 33,643 points, the fourth most in NBA history.

  • He could do it all, and that was one of his great gifts as a basketball player.

  • He wasn't wedded to any one style; he could beat you inside, outside.

  • He could beat you seemingly single-handedly in his prime.

  • In 1996, after graduating from high school outside Philadelphia, he elected to skip college and go straight to the NBA, where he was drafted 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets and immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he quickly became a star.

  • The crowd got me real pumped up after the dunk.

  • As a rookie, he won the slam dunk contest and, in his second year, was chosen to be an all-star.

  • His meteoric rise continued through the late '90s and into the early 2000s.

  • Bryant, alongside teammate Shaquille O'Neal and coach Phil Jackson, by 2002 had won three consecutive NBA championships.

  • A three-peak NS sweep.

  • The next year, Bryant's legacy was tarnished.

  • He was charged with sexually assaulting a 19-year-old hotel employee.

  • Bryant, his wife Vanessa beside him, said the sexual encounter was consensual.

  • Prosecutors eventually dropped all criminal charges when the woman said she didn't want to testify.

  • Bryant later settled a civil suit connected to the case.

  • Back on the court, he continued breaking records.

  • In 2006, he scored 81 points in a single game, the second highest in NBA history.

  • I couldn't even dream of this when I was a kid, you know.

  • There's just no way possible.

  • In 2008, he was named the league's MVP, but he couldn't take his team all the way to victory that year.

  • That was a turning point.

  • It was when I sat there in the hotel room afterwards, I started thinking about that, because it's on me.

  • If I didn't feel like my teammates were aggressive enough, that falls on me.

  • And I had to understand what their journey was; how are they feeling as people, what are they going through?

  • The next year, the Lakers were back on top.

  • He won his fourth championship and in 2010, his fifth and final.

  • Championships are a byproduct of things, drills and exercises that I did when I was six years old.

  • In 2016, after 20 years in the NBA, he retired.

  • The thing that I will never forget is his last game in the NBA.

  • He got 60 points off 50 shots which is a spectacular amount of shots to take in a basketball game.

  • What an exit for number 24!

  • And it was kind of, you know, in this very small moment, in his last moment of the court, the NBA kind of, in miniature, you know, all the greatness and brilliances and excesses of what it meant to be Kobe Bryant.

  • After leaving the court, Bryant turned his attention to new business endeavors.

  • He launched a venture capital firm, published a series of young adult fantasy novels, and even won an academy award for an animated short film called "Dear Basketball", an ode to his love for the game.

  • My heart can take the pounding.

  • My mind can handle the grind.

  • But my body knows it's time to say goodbye.

  • When the LA Lakers retired his jersey numbers in 2017, Bryant reminded his daughters of the secrets of his success.

  • You guys know that, you know, if you do the work, you work hard enough, dreams come true.

  • You know that, we all know that, but hopefully what you get from tonight is the understanding that those times when you get up early and you work hard, those times when you stay up late and you work hard, those times when you don't feel like working, you're too tired, you don't wanna push yourself but you do it anyway, that is actually the dream.

  • That's the dream, it's not the destination, it's the journey.

  • Kobe was recently spotted out at NBA games with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna who died alongside him in the crash.

  • She was a rising star basketball player herself.

  • It was 20 great years.

  • I was very fortunate to play that long.

  • And, but now I watch it through my daughter.

  • My daughter plays every day.

  • He called her mambacita, a nod to the nickname he had given himself.

  • Mamba out.

Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest players in NBA history, died in a helicopter crash on Sunday at the age of 41.

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What Made Kobe Bryant a Unique Basketball Player | WSJ

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    Fibby posted on 2020/02/07
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