Five moments that made NBA star Kobe Bryant great

27 January 2020 - 12:04 By Cebelihle Bhengu
In this file photo from 2013, Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant drives the ball past Brooklyn Nets' Gerald Wallace during their NBA game in New York. The athlete died in a helicopter crash on the weekend.
In this file photo from 2013, Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant drives the ball past Brooklyn Nets' Gerald Wallace during their NBA game in New York. The athlete died in a helicopter crash on the weekend.
Image: Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP

The world is mourning the death of retired basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who died on Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas.

The announcement was made by the city of Calabasas, which said the aircraft went down in a remote field.

The announcement was made on Sunday via Twitter.

From basketball star to youth coach,  here are five moments that made Bryant a legend:

He mentored young ones

The retired legend, known for his laser focus, made sure to pass the skill of playing basketball to the younger generation. After excelling in the sport, Bryant expected nothing less than the number 1 spot for his daughter's basketball team which, according to the Washington Post, he coached.

In a September Instagram post, he clearly wasn't satisfied that the youngsters bagged fourth place in a tournament, but this was no reason for him to give up on the young mambas. He said:  “The beauty of coaching is growing the players from the ground up. That journey continues.”

Oscar winner 

Bryant's success was not confined to his favourite sport. In 2018, he won an Oscar award in the category of best animated short. This was for his film Dear Basketball, which, according to Entertainment Weekly, is based on his poem of the same name.

Upon learning of his nomination, he took to Twitter to thank animator and illustrator Glen Keane, with whom he collaborated for the film.

ESPY Icon award winner 

Bryant was honoured with an ESPY icon award in 2016, the year in which he retired. During his acceptance speech, he attributed his success to early mornings and hard work, but made it clear it was no time for him to rest, NBA News reported.

“I believe there is time for resting in the end but for me, that time is not now. My next dream is to be honoured one day for inspiring the next generation of athletes to have a dream, sacrifice for it and never, ever rest in the middle.”

A humble neighbour

Shortly after the confirmation of his death, scores of people gathered at Leimert Park in Los Angeles to commemorate the life of Bryant as a professional basketball player and humble neighbour.

Steven Alford, 57, shared his fondest memory of Kobe with LA Times, and described Bryant as someone who did not think too highly of himself.

“He wasn't anybody special in his mind when he was walking in the store, and it was just really, really refreshing. I think he felt very comfortable here in Newport Coast and everybody treated him with respect,” he said.

A proud father 

Although Natalia Bryant did not follow in her father's footsteps, she had his full support in her choice of volleyball. Natalia plays for the Orange County based Mamba Volleyball club.

The proud father recently shared a video of Natalia on the field which he captioned “our eldest but always our baby”.


X