Kobe Bryant was a professional basketball player in the NBA who played for the Los Angeles Lakers. He won five NBA Championships and was the Finals MVP twice. He is an 18-time NBA All-Star, a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, and a two-time NBA scoring champion. In January 2020, Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles that also took his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other passengers.
Kobe Bryant’s father, Joe Bryant, played in the NBA and raised Kobe in Philadelphia and Italy. Bryant was recognized as the top American high-school basketball player and entered the 1996 NBA Draft right after his senior year. He was selected 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets and was immediately traded to the Lakers. As a rookie in the league, he won the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest, and he was named an All-Star by his second season. Alongside Shaquille O’Neal, the two helped lead the Lakers to three consecutive NBA Championships from 2000-02. In 2006, Bryant scored a career-high 81 points, which is the second most points scored in a single NBA game. Bryant once again led the Lakers to become champions in 2009 and 2010. obe retired after the 2015-2016 season due to physical decline and injuries.
Off the court, Kobe was charged with the sexual assault of a 19-year-old hotel employee in 2003. The case was dropped after the accuser failed to testify, and Bryant apologized and admitted to a consensual sexual encounter. On January 26th, 2020, Kobe, his daughter, and six family friends went on a helicopter ride that was supposed to take them to a basketball game in Thousand Oaks. Due to heavy fog and rain, the pilot became disoriented and the helicopter slammed into the side of a mountain in Calabasas. Everyone on board passed away. A funeral for Bryant and his daughter was held on February 7th, 2020.