How do you do justice to Kobe Bryant? One of the absolute superstars of basketball. The “Black Mamba,” as he called himself. Record holder in the NBA. Former title holder. Legend and idol. But most importantly, father of four, husband? So how do you honor him? Dirk Nowitzki tried. “Kobe,” wrote Nowitzki, “was the Michael Jordan of our generation. Rest in peace with your angel gigi.” He expressed his condolences to Bryant’s wife Vanessa, her three daughters and all the bereaved of the victims. At the end of his lines, Nowitzki placed a broken heart.
Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among the dead in a helicopter accident near Los Angeles with no survivors. He turned 41 years old. The cause of the accident is still unknown. In foggy weather the Sikorsky S-76 crashed and burst into flames in the morning. The helicopter is believed to have taken off from Orange County, the home of Bryant in southeastern Los Angeles.
The crash site in Calabasas is approximately 30 kilometers west of the city. According to American media reports, the Los Angeles City Police had deliberately left their helicopters on the ground because the foggy weather was too dangerous to fly. Bryant had been on his way to a basketball tournament in the town of Calabasas with his daughter and other passengers. The police informed about the death of the nine helicopter passengers.
With the 41-year-old world star, one of the most successful and influential professionals in the history of basketball retired from life. Bryant was voted 15 times into the NBA’s All-Star Team – none of them more often. The nearly two-meter tall Shooting Guard scored 81 points once in a 2006 game, and his 33,643 points in regular season games are only surpassed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and LeBron James – the latter passed Bryant in third place on the leaderboard only last weekend. “The most important thing is to inspire people to achieve great things,” Bryant once said. And he succeeded, because there was hardly anyone greater than him.
Michael Jordan was Bryant’s great role model…
Probably the greatest, Michael Jordan, was his great role model. Bryant drew his circles in the same position as Jordan, trying to emulate him in playing style and success. With five NBA titles won for the Los Angeles Lakers, to which he was loyal throughout his career, he only remained one championship under Jordan’s brand. Who wrote: “Words cannot express the pain I feel. I loved Kobe – he was like a brother to me.”
Bryant was named after the Kobe steak that his parents had seen on a menu shortly before he was born. His path to basketball was mapped out. His father already played in the NBA for eight years. Because he then continued his career in Europe, Kobe Bryant lived in Italy between the ages of six and 13. He spoke fluent Italian and already impressed with sensational performances in the youth team of Pistoria. “If we had stayed longer in Italy, I would have tried to become a professional footballer,” Bryant once said.
But this is how he returned to the USA in 1992, with his father as his sports teacher and mentor. At the age of five, Bryant tried to beat the senior in a one-on-one match. “When I was 14, I defeated him for the first time. That’s when I knew I could make it into the NBA,” he once said. He went to Lower Merion High School in Ardmoore/Pennsylvania, but as an immigrant from Europe, he didn’t make the grade. One of the reasons was that he did not understand street slang. The only way he gained respect was by playing basketball. Among other things he improved the old high school record of Wilt Chamberlain, once one of the most offensive players in the NBA, to 2993 points.
Thanks to his father’s contacts, the talent was allowed to train with the Sixers in Philadelphia. He was tested against newly signed young professional Jerry Stackhouse, who was clearly inferior to the teenager. The Sixers had made a discovery, but still came away empty-handed. Bryant’s name was put on the draft list at the instigation of NBA boss David Stern, which surprised many because he had never attended college and had therefore not followed the traditional league path. But Stern categorically dismissed all criticism: “Kobe Bryant is an exception. Because of his family background, his exceptional maturity and his talent. He will remain in the league despite his youth,” Stern said.
The Charlotte Hornets drafted him, but swapped him for Vlade Divac, so Bryant began his professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers. A stroke of luck for the club, as it was soon to turn out. Shaquille O’Neal was the team’s mainstay at the time. Bryant, however, was the youngest player in the NBA at 18 years and two months, averaging 15.5 minutes. “I don’t want to go down in history as a man who wouldn’t let Kobe play,” said coach Delmer William Harris.
That should turn out to be a smart move. Bryant made the breakthrough effortlessly and quickly became one of the crowd favourites in Los Angeles. In his second year with the Lakers, he was called to the All Star Game, where he met Michael Jordan. He was impressed with the newcomer. “I just didn’t want to be outshone by Kobe,” Jordan had said after the duel.
A positive factor for his career was that his family led a nomadic life and traveled a lot during his childhood. So, from the beginning, the exhausting daily routine as an NBA professional did not cause him any major problems in this respect. But Bryant’s relationship with Shaquille O’Neal became increasingly difficult, which complicated his game and damaged his reputation. Both stars were more concerned with putting themselves in the spotlight than working together for the team. “Shaq and Kobe have a definition of basketball that says, ‘Give me the ball and I’ll make the points. With a star, that works. With two you can’t,” Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons once outlined the problem. Between Bryant and O’Neal a small war broke out, publicly conducted via the media. It was undignified.
A truce in the small war with Shaquille O’Neal
The magazine “Five” once commented that it was “easy to label Bryant as an egomaniac. And not wrong either”, Bryant has no life except basketball, and he is obsessed with basketball and winning, as Michael Jordan was. He gets respect, of course. But he said it was “hard to like him.”
Bryant, however, was the one who, through his behavior, heralded the truce. It was in 2001, Bryant no longer humiliated his colleagues in training, played cards with them, praised them in the press. Many attributed this to his wedding in April 2001. Bryant married Vanessa Laine, who was 18 years old and of Mexican descent at the time – much to the displeasure of his entire entourage. In the end, only twelve people attended the wedding ceremony. Not only his long-time agent Arn Tellem stayed away from the ceremony, but also his family. His parents were against such an early marriage and would have liked a black daughter-in-law. The reconciliation with Vanessa came almost two years later, when Bryant’s first daughter Natalia Diamante was born in January 2003.
THE GREAT CAREER OF KOBE BRYANT
Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash at the age of only 41 years. He was one of the greatest basketball players in history.
Sportingly, everything was also regulated in his sense. The Lakers decided in his favor and against O’Neal, who was sold to Miami, while Bryant’s contract was extended for another seven years and 136 million dollars salary. In total, the magazine “Forbes” estimates his assets at 770 million dollars. “I was tired of being Shaq’s supporting actor,” he once said. Disguised as “Mr. Ego,” Bryant became a team player, broke almost every conceivable record in both club and league, and in 2012 became the first sportsman ever to be immortalized in the fresh cement on Hollywood Boulevard.
He was extremely versatile during his career, had a safe jump shot, was strong from the triple line and could pull to the basket. He was also very effective on defense. His nerves of steel to hit the decisive throw in the final seconds were considered to be outstanding, as well as his work ethic, because he trained like no one else. “He’s probably the best player I’ve ever had to play against,” Nowitzki told the “Sport Bild” in 2015.
In December 2014 Bryant overtook his great idol Michael Jordan with a total of 32,310 points. After hardly being injured once in the years before and having played 1194 of 1346 possible matches, he was repeatedly thrown back by injuries from 2013 onwards. On 12 April 2013, for example, he tore an Achilles tendon in his left foot in the match against the Golden State Warriors. “I played my best basketball just before my injuries. “That’s why I’m not sure if my age
But his otherwise constant play became erratic. Games with 30 or more points followed, in which hardly any ball found its way into the basket. On 29 November 2015, he announced his decision to quit after the season in a poem he wrote himself. “My mind can still, my heart anyway, but my body says no,” he had formulated. At the age of 37, he trumped 60 points in his last game and was celebrated in the golden shower of confetti by stars such as Lakers-Edelfan Jack Nicholson, Jay-Z and David Beckham. His farewell after the last game, when he said the words “Mamba Out” and put down the hall microphone, reached iconic status – and was even imitated by then US President Obama himself.
Bryant’s death was in the spotlight at the Grammy Awards, which were presented on Sunday evening in Los Angeles’ Staples Center of all places. Host and singer Alicia Keys said at the beginning of the show: “My heart has been in pieces since I heard about this unimaginable tragedy.” It was an attempt to pay tribute to one of the greatest in the history of sport.
4 Secrets To Becoming Rich – How To Get Rich From Nothing: This ebook is a must read for anyone serious about exiting the rate race….