Calabasas, CA. (THECOUNT) — One of the basketball’s biggest stars, five-time NBA champion, dead Sunday in a Calabasas, California helicopter crash.
Kobe Bryant’s fame transcended the sport and he was truly a global icon, feared and respected by opposing teams and fans alike, reports TheSun.
Bryant remains one of the most lethal shooters to ever play the game, but was also a hugely effective defensive asset at the other end of the court.
He was active between 1996 and 2016, being the first guard in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons.
Bryant was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets 24 years ago, but the franchise immediately traded him to the LA Lakers.
In Los Angeles, Bryant carved out a career as a pure sporting entertainer and fan favourite.
He won the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest and was named an All-Star in just his second season.
And by the mid-2000s he was breaking records without breaking sweat.
In 2006, he scored a career-high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second most points scored in a single game in NBA history.
With the Lakers, Kobe went on to win five NBA championships, with the last in 2010.
Born in Philadelphia in August 1978, Bryant is 41 years old.
Bryant enjoyed a 20-year career with the Lakers
Which teams did the NBA star play for?
Throughout a glittering career, he appeared for just ONE NBA side, becoming a global face of both the franchise and the league itself.
Bryant played shooting guard for the Lakers from his draft 1996 all the way up to his retirement in 2016.
He scored 33,643 total points in his career, which works out at around 25 per game.
And at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games he helped lead Team USA to the gold medal.
KOBE has been in a relationship with Vanessa Laine since November 1999.
The pair got engaged after just six months and were married in April 2001 in Dana Point, California.
In 2011 the couple filed for divorce, but less than two years later called it off.
They have four children together – all four of them daughters.
Their names are Natalia, Bianka, Gianna and Capri.