The NBA world is reeling from the news that Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday morning. Bryant, 41, was on track to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame later this year. Shortly after the news broke, NBA commissioner Adam Silver released the following statement on behalf of the league regarding Bryant’s passing:
The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.
For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals. But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna… We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world.
The fourth-leading scorer in NBA history with 33,643 career points, Bryant was a five-time NBA champion with the Lakers and an 18-time NBA All-Star who was named the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2008. He was twice an NBA Finals MVP and an 11-time All-NBA First Team selection. The two-time NBA scoring champion was just as renown for his ability on the other end of the floor, as he earned nine selections to the NBA All-Defensive First Team over the course of his career.
A Philadelphia native, Bryant was the youngest player in league history when he first stepped on an NBA court in 1996. He spent his entirety of 20-year career with the Lakers and played more games in the Purple-and-Gold than anyone else in franchise history.
He is the Lakers’ all-time leader in points, minutes and steals, and he became the first — and only — player in NBA history to have multiple jerseys retired by a single franchise when the Lakers raised both No. 8 and No. 24 to the rafters in 2017.
Courtesy: CBS Sports