The sudden passing of NBA legend, Kobe Bryant, has shaken the entire NBA community.
As first reported by TMZ and confirmed by multiple other sources, Bryant along with his daughter, Gianna Marie Onore, and seven others were killed when a helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Bryant and his daughter, more known by her affectionate nickname “Gigi”, were on their way to one of her travel basketball games when the helicopter crashed. The report also said that the others on board were another player and parent on the team.
In a late afternoon game on Sunday, the defending NBA champion, Toronto Raptors, and the San Antonio Spurs were scheduled to play a midseason game just hours after the news about Bryant was released.
At the beginning of the game both teams decided to honor the NBA superstar and started a trend that reverberated through the league.
After the ball was tipped, the Toronto Raptors controlled possession and decided to run out the shot clock without attempting a shot in order to honor the legacy of the NBA great who wore number 24 for the latter part of his career.
Immediately after the Raptors let the shot clock wind down, the Spurs did the same on their first possession.
“24 seconds for number 24” is how ESPN reporter Jeff Passan described the moment.
As the seconds trickled down on the shot clock you could hear the crowd erupt in cheers and chants of “Kobe” started to break out in the arena.
Many other teams followed suit and paid their respects to one of the greatest players of all time.
Bryant’s NBA Legacy
Bryant was only 41 years old when he passed.
He was the league’s No. 4 all-time scorer with 33,643 points.
Bryant helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships during his career. He was drafted in the first round by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996 and then traded that same day to the Lakers.
Bryant was a 15-time All-NBA honoree and the 2007-08 MVP.
His legacy will live on far pass his statistics. His tenacity and toughness were a staple in the NBA for two decades and his on court bravado known to many now as his “Mamba Mentality” was a mindset emulated by many players but could never be duplicated.
Many in the NBA community will mourn the passing of Bryant and honor the legacy he left in the game of basketball.
Kobe Off The Court
Bryant was recognized around the world not only as an outstanding basketball player but also as a talented writer and producer.
After his retirement in 2016, Bryant went on to dive more into his creative works and became the CEO of Granity Studios where he produced many pieces of creative content around history and the game of basketball.
Bryant was awarded an Oscar in 2018 for Best Animated Short Film after he produced “Dear Basketball” a film about the contributions that the game of basketball helped give Bryant.
It was his final farewell to the game.