Former Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant died on Sunday 26.01.2020, following a tragic helicopter crash in California, USA, The Sauce reported.
The legendary Kobe Bryant was also in the company of eight other people in his private helicopter including his 13 year old daughter Gianna. There were no survivors.
As an iconic basketball legend idolized all over the world, here are seven things to know about the basketball star who met his death at an early age of 41.
1. He was named after a Japanese Steak
His parents named him after a type of steak they discovered from a restaurant menu. The name is from a species of cattle raised in a region in Japan called Kobe.
2. His Nickname Was ‘Black Mamba’
Kobe adopted this self-appointed nickname, which he created to get through struggles during the darkest part of his life. This was an off-court drama he faced between 2003 and 2004 that almost derailed his basketball career, after he was mentioned in sexual assault allegations. He said the nickname helped him in coping up with the ordeal. His daughter who perished with him in the crash was nicknamed ‘Mambacita’.
3. He had a Prolific and a Very Successful Basketball Career
Kobe played all his 20-year professional career for the Los Angeles Lakers. During this period, he became a 2-time Olympic gold medalist for the United States men’s basketball team, an 18-time All-Star, a 5-time NBA champion, a 2-time NBA finals Most Valuable Player in 2009 and 2010 and NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the 2007-2008 season. At the time of his retirement, he had 33,643 points, ranking him fourth in the NBA all-time scoring list. Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James just passed him for third position a day before his death and his last tweet was a congratulatory message to James.
4. He had a brief rap career
In the midst of Kobe Bryant’s 20 season NBA career, the five-time Lakers champion was working on his lyrical fitness. Rewind to 1999/2000 when the then-Sony Records signee was following in the steps of fellow basketball star Shaquille O’Neal’s size 22 kicks. He released his debut single and only studio effort ‘K.O.B.E.’ which he performed and debuted at the 2000 All-Star games with super model collaborator Tyra Banks.
5. He won an Oscar
In 2018, Kobe won an Oscar in the Best Animated Short Film category for his 2017 six-minute film Dear Basketball. It was written and narrated by Kobe Bryant and directed and animated by Glen Keane, with music by John Williams. The film is based on a letter Kobe Bryant wrote to The Players’ Tribune on November 29, 2015 announcing his retirement from basketball.
6. He was fluent in Italian
Kobe lived in Italy for eight years from an early age of six, where he learnt to speak Italian fluently. Kobe’s family had relocated from the United States to Italy after his father retired from the NBA and went on with his career in the Italian pro league.
7. He was an author
In 2018 Kobe Bryant’s first book dubbed The Mamba Mentality: How I Play was published. In the wake of his retirement from professional basketball, Kobe “The Black Mamba” Bryant has decided to share his vast knowledge and understanding of the game to take readers on an unprecedented journey to the core of the legendary “Mamba mentality.”
Shortly after his death, popular author Paulo Coelho known for his book ‘The Alchemist ‘ revealed that they had been working on writing a book together.
BONUS: He was the First Guard to Be Drafted Straight out of High School
Kobe entered the NBA straight out of Lower Merion high school. He was the 13th overall pick in the 1996 selection, becoming the first guard to go to the NBA straight from high school.
Bryant was a father of four daughters and is now survived by his wife of 19 years Vanessa Bryant, daughters Natalia, Bianka and baby Capri.