Many names have graced the world basketball court in the last few decades. The NBA is known as the home of basketball and these players brought fun and enjoyment of the game to people who throng the courts watch the game orn on tv in their homes all over the world. 

NBA superstars such as Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Larry Bird, Nigerian-born Hakeem ‘The Dream’ Olajuwon, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant have excelled in one of the most demanding, fast-paced and lucrative professional sports known to man.

But the last name, Kobe Byrant, who died last Sunday in a helicopter crash at the age of 41 is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. 

Fondly called the Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant brought fun to many fans and non-fans, who, even when they didn’t follow basketball, could not help but notice the the passion brought to the game by this legend.

Award-Winner was Kobe’s second name.

Name it – he won it at least once and in several cases, serially and Los Angeles Lakers retired shirt numbers 8 and 24 in his honour in his lifetime. This is an honour given only to true legends of any team, in any sport.

In the 2007 – 2008 season, the Mamba won the Most Valuable Player, MVP, award – an accolade given to the best-performing player in the regular season. Even off the basketball court, Kobe Bryant won an Oscar for a best short animated film in 2016  for ‘Dear Basketball’, a five-minute film based on a love letter to the sport he wrote in 2015.

Kobe won two NBA Finals MVP awards for 2008 – 2009 and 2009 to 2010. In 2008 and 2012, he won Olympic gold medals with the United States team.

Other awards:

1. Four All-Star MVP Awards – in 2001-02, 2006-07, 2008-09 and 2010-11. He is tied with Bob Pettit for the most All-Star MVPs in NBA history.

2. Five NBA championships.

3. Selected nine times in NBA All-defensive first team. Only four players – Bryant, Michael Jordan, Kevin Garnett and Gary Payton – have been selected this number of times.

4. He made the All-NBA First Team selection 11 times, second-equal with Karl Malone. LeBron James is the only player to have made it in 12 times.

5. Bryant made 15 starts in NBA annual All-Star Game – the second most in history, one behind LeBron James, who was selected to make his 16th just last week. In fact, Bryant was picked for the All-Star Game 18 times in a row. That is the longest streak in NBA history and only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, with 19, made the All-Star Game more times.



6. Bryant spent 20 seasons with the Lakers. Only Dirk Nowitzki, who had 21 seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, has had a longer one-club career in the NBA.

7. He scored 50+ points in 25 games – only Wilt Chamberlain (118) and Michael Jordan (31) have scored 50-plus points more than he.

8. In his final NBA game, Kobe Bryant scored 60+ points. It was the seventh time he had scored 60-plus points. Recall that when the Lakers beat the Toronto Raptors 122-104 in January 2006, Bryant scored 81 of his side’s points. Only Wilt Chamberlain, with a 100-point in a game in 1962, had scored more.

9. Bryant’s 5,640 points scored in the NBA playoffs is the fourth highest total in NBA history behind LeBron James (6,911), Jordan (5,987) and Abdul-Jabbar (5,762).

10. Bryant, who made his debut in the 1996-97 season, scored 33,643 regular season points, putting him fourth on the all-time scoring list behind Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928) and LeBron James (33,655), who overtook Bryant while playing for the Lakers last Sunday.

11. His 48,637 minutes played is the eighth-highest total in the NBA.

Black Mamba Kobe Bryant has left many things to be remembered by. The world of basketball, nay, sport, has indeed lost an icon, a legend whose shoes will be two big to fill. Even LeBron James, while promising to continue in Kobe’s footsteps, feels the same way.
Rest in peace, Kobe.

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