In news that shocked America, basketball player Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash. The accident happened on January 26, in California. The news sent a wave of shock and sadness across the country.
Eight other people were killed in the crash, including Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
Known as one of the greatest professional basketball players of all time, Bryant retired from the sport in 2016 after 20 seasons. He was drafted into the National Basketball League at the age of 18, making him the youngest ever to play in the league. Bryant spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant’s playing career has been described as legendary, with five NBA championships under his belt. Bryant also won two Olympic gold medals for the U.S.
Off the court, he was a successful businessman and philanthropist (a person who donates money to good causes). He was also a trainer to his basketball-playing daughter, Gianna.
Bryant believed in people expressing their own opinions. The star was passionate about young people getting the education to make informed choices. He once said:
“We have a democratic system. You can vote and choose what you want to support and what you don’t want to support, but having the knowledge of understanding what you’re voting for is the most important thing.”
How Kobe Became Kobe
Born in Philadelphia, Bryant was the son of former NBA player Joe Bryant. He was the youngest of three children and named after the famous Japanese beef called “kobe,” but nicknamed Jellybean. Raised Roman Catholic, Bryant spent time in Italy before returning to Philadelphia. He skipped college and went directly to the National Basketball Association, where he quickly rose to be a star.