(KTLA) Kobe Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career spent entirely with the Los Angeles Lakers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday. He was 41.
Bryant died in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California, a source told The Associated Press. It was unclear if family members were on the helicopter. (CNN reported that the helicopter was owned by Bryant. He flew in it frequently.)
Bryant retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history, finishing two decades with the Lakers as a prolific scorer with a sublime all-around game and a relentless competitive ethic. He held that spot in the league scoring ranks until Saturday night, when the Lakers’ LeBron James passed him for third place during a game in Philadelphia, Bryant’s hometown.
“Continuing to move the game forward (at)KingJames,” Bryant wrote in his last tweet. “Much respect my brother.”
Bryant had one of the greatest careers in recent NBA history and became one of the game’s most popular players as the face of the 16-time NBA champion Lakers franchise. He was the league MVP in 2008 and a two-time NBA scoring champion, and he earned 12 selections to the NBA’s All-Defensive teams.
He teamed with Shaquille O’Neal in a combustible partnership to lead the Lakers to NBA titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002. He later teamed with Pau Gasol to win two more titles in 2009 and 2010.
See highlights from Kobe Bryant's farewell game in which he scored 60 points below.
Bryant, the 18-time All-Star and five-time champion, retired in 2016, having won Olympic gold medals as a member of Team U.S.A. in 2008 and 2012.
In retirement, Bryant had expanded his purview, winning an Academy Award in 2018 for his animated short film “Dear Basketball.” He was scheduled to headline the 2020 N.B.A. Hall of Fame nominees.
Kobe Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was among those killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas on Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported.