Kobe Bryant, One of The Greatest Basketball Players of All Time, Has Passed Away at the Age of 41

Kobe Bryant's Mamba Academy

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Kobe Bryant, one of The Greatest Basketball Players of All Time,  died  at the age of 41,  in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people. Kobe Bryant, beyond being known as one of the most extraordinary players in the history of basketball, has inspired young people around the World and especially in his state of California, to play Baskeball and other sports.

When Kobe Bryant retired in 2016 after a 20-year career with the LA Lakers, he was a five-time NBA champion and had been  named an NBA All-Star 18 times.

He named himself "Black Mamba."  In an interview with The New Yorker in 2014, he said that his name, Kobe Bryant, "just evokes such a negative emotion, I said, 'If I create this alter ego, so now when I play this is what's coming out of your mouth, it separates the personal stuff, right?' You're not watching David Banner -- you're watching the Hulk." Hence, "Black Mamba"

Nike partnered with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club to launch a youth basketball league, called the Mamba League. The goal of the league was to  give hundreds of kids free access to basketball. 

Kobe Bryant extended his Mamba initiative  when he  launched  the Mamba Sports Academy.

The fatal crash happenne when he was  was on his way to a Mamba Sports Academy game Sunday  along with, one of his daughters, Giggi and seven other people. All  the seven people, Kobe and his daughters died in the  helicopter crash.

Kobe Bryant was, without a doubt, one of  the most influential  former basketball players, a role model celebrity, and one of the greatest rising philanthropists, whose voice had a far reaching  impact even after he stopped playing in the NBA.  His last game was a big statement in itself:  in his final NBA game in 2016,   he scored 60 points in a season finale win over the Utah Jazz,  becaming the oldest NBA player, then at 37 years old, to score 60 or more points in a game.

The impact of Kobe Bryant life cannot be easily summarized. Several people have given  tributes, including the following four:  

The first is from another one of the greatest basketball players and NBA's all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He was with the Lakers from 1975-1989. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said: "It's very difficult for me to put in words how I feel. Kobe was an incredible family man, he loved his wife and daughters, he was an incredible athlete, he inspired a whole generation. This loss is hard to comprehend."

Two-time Grand Slam tennis champion Naomi Osaka posted a moving letter to Bryant on Twitter: (see here)

Former US President Barack Obama tweeted: "Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day."

US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter: "Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the truly great basketball players of all time, was just getting started in life. He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating."