Remembering the highlights of Kobe Bryant’s illustrious career after his tragic death

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The Black Mamba may have been best known as a Los Angeles Lakers legend, but his accomplishments reverberated far beyond the basketball court. AP Photo/Ben Margot
  • NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna ‘Gigi’ Bryant, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, Sunday.
  • He was 41 years old.
  • Check out some of the highlights from the Black Mamba’s illustrious career, which included everything from NBA championships to Academy Award wins.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.


Kobe Bryant had one of the most celebrated basketball careers in the entire history of the NBA.

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It all started in the Philadelphia suburb of Lower Merion, where Bryant had been a star at Lower Merion High School. In his four years starting for the Aces, Bryant accumulated 2,883 points to become the all-time leading scorer in Southeastern Pennsylvania high school history.

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Source: ESPN


Despite garnering multiple offers to play college hoops at top programs like Duke, North Carolina, Michigan, and Villanova, Bryant decided to try his luck in the 1996 NBA Draft.

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After a trade with the Charlotte Hornets, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Bryant straight out of high school with the 13th overall pick in the draft.

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It took him some time to adjust to the pros, but once Bryant hit his stride, no one in the NBA was able to stop him.

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During his second season in Los Angeles, Bryant became the youngest All-Star in NBA history at just 19 years old.

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But the 21st century was when Bryant transformed from a budding star to a bona fide legend.

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He was an NBA All-Star from 2000 to 2016, making the All-NBA first team 11 times in that span and earning All-Star game MVP accolades in 2002, 2007, 2009, and 2011.

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He also brought home his first championship ring in 2000, contributing 15.6 points per game in the Lakers’ winning effort over the Indiana Pacers.

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He and Shaquille O’Neal would lead Los Angeles to three consecutive NBA Finals victories.

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After O’Neal left the franchise in 2004, Bryant became the sole star in Los Angeles. And though it took the Lakers a few years to regain their footing, the Black Mamba enjoyed some of his most prolific years once they did.

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He dropped a career-high 81 points in a single game in 2006, which ranks second all-time behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point showing in 1962.

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And, two years later, he earned his first and only NBA MVP accolades after posting 28.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game en route to the NBA Finals.

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And he got back to his winning ways just one year later, leading the Lakers past the Orlando Magic with 32.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game en route to Finals MVP honours.

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Then he did it again in 2010, this time against the Lakers’ arch-rival Boston Celtics. He led all scorers with 28.6 points per game and an incredible 38-point showing in game five.

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He also won Olympic gold medals with Team USA in 2008 and 2012.

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Bryant’s career took a turn in 2013 when he suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in a game against the Golden State Warriors. He famously took — and made — both of his free throws before exiting the court.

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After enduring various other injuries over the next few seasons, Bryant decided to retire after the 2015-16 season.

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In his final game, Bryant famously scored an NBA season-high 60 points to cap his sensational career.

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The five-time NBA champion spent his entire 20-year professional career with the Lakers, and the franchise repaid his loyalty by retiring both his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys.

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Even though Kobe made his name on the court, his star power didn’t dull once his time in the league came to an end.

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He started Kobe Inc. in 2018 to make investments in sports-related business ventures and struck gold when he invested in BODYARMOR sports drink.

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He published a book that same year entitled “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play.”

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And he spent time breaking down NBA and WNBA players’ games in “Detail” on ESPN+.

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But arguably Bryant’s most impressive off-court accomplishment was writing and narrating “Dear Basketball,” the Academy Award-winning animated short about his love of basketball.

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Bryant had begun to pass his love of the game on to his daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant before they both tragically died in a helicopter accident in January of 2020.

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And even though his legacy won’t live on through her, Bryant has inspired countless athletes across the entire world of sports.

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Given all of his accomplishments on the court and off, there’s little doubt Mamba changed the game of basketball and the scope of an athlete’s influence in his 41 years of life.

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Now check out how the sports world is reacting to Kobe’s untimely death:

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The sports world is reacting to the sudden and tragic death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant