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  • The former athlete was traveling with four other people who also died in the crash.

    The former athlete was traveling with four other people who also died in the crash. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 January 2020
Opinion

Bryant played for 20 years with Los Angeles Lakers, where he got five NBA rings.

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant died Sunday morning at age 41 when his private helicopter crashed in Los Angeles, California.

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The former athlete was traveling with four other people who also died in the crash. It was later confirmed that his daughter Gianna Maria Onore, 13, is among the victims. The causes of the airplane crash are not yet known.

Bryant is considered one of the most important players in the history of basketball. After being drafted in 1996, he played for 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, before his retirement at age 38.

With the team, he won five NBA rings and was selected Most Valuable Player (MVP) in two finals, as well as the best player of the regular season in 2008. In addition, he played the All-Star team on 18 occasions.

With the U.S. national team, he won the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics, beating the Spanish national team in both finals.

In 2018, he won an Oscar for best animated short for a film called Dear Basketball, based on a poem he wrote about his retirement from the game.

On Sunday night, another NBA legend, LeBron James, paid tribute to Bryant saying he was  "someone that I used as inspiration. It was like, wow. ... “Now I’m here in a Lakers uniform, in Philadelphia where he’s from.”

“Just to be able to, at this point of my career, to share the same jersey that he wore, be with this historical franchise and just represent the purple and gold, it’s very humbling,” James added.

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