Today, 26th January 2021 marks the first death anniversary of Kobe Bean Bryant, the renowned basketball legend of America, widely known as ‘black mamba’. He passed away in a tragic helicopter crash that happened last year along with his 13 year old daughter Gianna Bryant and 7 others while traveling to Bryant’s Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball match. Kobe’s shocking demise came early at the age of 41 leaving his wife Vanessa with his other daughters Natalia, Bianca and Capri.
Kobe was born to former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Joe Bryant and Pamela Cox Bryant on August 23, 1978 in Philadelphia. Kobe started playing basketball at a very young age of 3. He joined the NBA in 1997 at the age of 17 when he signed for Los Angeles Lakers, becoming the sixth player in the history of the NBA to do so. He further went on to become the youngest player ever to play in an NBA game and the youngest NBA starter. During his long career with Lakers which stretched over an outstanding 20 seasons, Kobe managed to average 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists in 1,346 regular season games. Throughout his NBA career, Kobe won a MVP award, played 18 all star games and won five NBA championships with the Lakers. He was a part of the gold winning basketball team which represented the USA in the Beijing and London Olympics. He announced his retirement in 2015 owing to his fading form after a prolonged career and series of injuries.
August 24 is declared to be remembered as Kobe Bryant day by the Orange County’s Board of Supervisors to commemorate his invaluable achievements and the inspiration he was to many aspiring athletes. During his NBA career Kobe wore the numbers 8 and 24, which is chosen as a date to celebrate the talent and the cultural icon he was.