Kobe Bryant's Basketball Career in Photos
Kobe Bryant was one of a kind. He started playing basketball at the age of 2 and began a lifelong love affair with the game. As he grew up, the young Kobe dreamed of being the best basketball player who ever lived.
Through talent, hard work and a fierce competitive spirit, Kobe became one of the game's all-time greats — a five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star. He retired from basketball in 2016 at the age of 37, finishing his 20-year NBA career with 33,643 points (25.0 per game), 7,047 rebounds (5.2), 6,306 assists (4.7) and 1,944 steals (1.4) in 1,346 games.
The basketball legend died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26, 2020, at the age of 41, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others who were also on board traveling to her basketball game. Kobe inspired the world during his life, and his legend will live forever.
Jan. 19, 1996: Meet the High School Phenom
Kobe Bryant dunks the ball at his Lower Merion High School gym in Pennsylvania during a practice. The 6-foot 6 suburban Philadelphia phenom could have played for any college in the nation. He decided to jump right from high school to pro basketball.
July 12, 1996: Welcome to the Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant, 17, jokes with the media as he holds his Los Angeles Lakers jersey during a news conference at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California. The Lakers acquired Kobe from the Charlotte Hornets — who selected Kobe with the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA draft in a prearranged move with the Lakers — in exchange for veteran center Vlade Divac.
The deal was another one of then-Lakers GM Jerry West's patented fleecings. During a pre-draft workout, Kobe amazed West with his athleticism and schooled former Lakers players Larry Drew and Michael Cooper in a scrimmage. Afterward, West said Kobe "marched over these people."
The Lakers signed Kobe to a three-year, $3.5 million rookie contract.
July 13, 1996: He's Got Next
Newly acquired Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant walks downcourt during a summer league game against the Detroit Pistons in Long Beach, California.
Nov. 26, 1996: Return of a Philly Kid
Kobe Bryant plays shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers in his rookie year. In his first NBA game in Philadelphia since graduating from Lower Merion, his suburban Philadelphia high school, Kobe scored 12 points against Allen Iverson and the 76ers.
Jan. 18, 1997: Showtime at the Forum for a New Generation
Kobe Bryant goes up for a basket during a Lakers game against the Detroit Pistons at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
Bryant averaged 7.6 points in 15.5 minutes per game in his rookie year and gave basketball fans a taste of what was to come.
May 8, 1997: Fly, Rookie, Fly
Kobe Bryant goes in for a layup against the Utah Jazz during Game 3 of a Western Conference semifinals series. The Lakers went 56-26 in Kobe's rookie year and finished second in the Pacific Division.
After beating the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs, the Lakers lost to the Jazz in five games.
Feb. 1, 1998: Be Like Kobe
Kobe Bryant shoots over Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan. Kobe scored 20 points in the Lakers' 112-87 rout of the Bulls, one of four Lakers to score at least 20 along with Eddie Jones (20), Shaquille O'Neal (24) and Rick Fox (25).
The Bulls went on to win their third straight NBA championship that season.
Feb. 1, 1998: Stop MJ
Kobe Bryant holds up Michael Jordan in the Lakers' win over the Bulls. Jordan led all scorers with 31.
Kobe enjoyed going head-to-head with Jordan.
Feb. 1, 1998: Sharpshooter
Kobe Bryant hits a corner jumper against Scottie Pippen.
Feb. 1, 1998: Brothers in Arms
Kobe and Shaq in their early, happier days as teammates.
Feb. 8, 1998: First All-Star Game
Kobe Bryant, playing for the West All-Stars, dunks over the Detroit Pistons' Grant Hill and San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan in the 1998 NBA All-Star game at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
This was Kobe's first All-Star Game of 18 in his career. The only two years he wasn't an All-Star were 1997, his rookie year, and 1999.
Feb. 19, 1998: What Can't This Kid Do?
Kobe Bryant sends a no-look pass around Denver Nuggets forward Danny Fortson. Kobe finished the 1997-98 season with 199 assists after having 91 dimes in his rookie season.
The most assists Kobe had in a season was 481 in 2002-03.
March 4, 1998: Defensive Mindset
Kobe Bryant, left, introduces Indiana Pacers point guard Travis Best to some lockdown defense as Lakers coach Del Harris, Kobe's first coach in his first two-plus NBA seasons, watches in the background.
Kobe took great pride in his defense and made life miserable for many opponents on both sides of the court throughout his career.
April 19, 1998: End of Season 2
Kobe Bryant, center, goes to the basket as teammate Robert Horry, left, and Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone watch. The Lakers won the game 102-98, the game of the 1997-98 regular season. But the Jazz swept the Lakers a month later in the Western Conference finals.
Kobe got more playing time in his second NBA season and made his presence felt, averaging 15.4 points in 26.0 minutes per game.
March 28, 1999: Watch Out Below
Kobe Bryant shoots over New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing. The Lakers won the game 99-91.
Kobe averaged 19.9 points in his third year in the NBA, which was shortened to 50 games due to an NBA lockout.
May 11, 1999: Playoff Success and Disappointment
Kobe Bryant drives toward the basket against Houston Rockets defender Michael Dickerson during a first-round playoff game. The Lakers won the game 110-98, taking a 2-0 lead in the series, and then closed out the series in four games.
But in the next round, the San Antonio Spurs swept the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals.
It was an end of an era for the Lakers, who played their last season at the Forum.
Dec. 1, 1999: Making 20 Points Per Game Look Easy
Kobe Bryant goes up for a layup as Golden State Warriors Antawn Jamison, Tim Legler and Jason Caffey are helpless at the Staples Center.
The 1999-2000 season was a new chapter for the Lakers. Phil Jackson took over as Lakers head coach, the team moved into the Staples Center, and Kobe averaged more than 20 points (22.5 points) for the first time in his career.
He would average 20-plus points in 14 more seasons, including 13 straight.
Dec. 25, 1999: The Bigger They Come, the Harder They Fall
Kobe Bryant, left, goes for a layup against San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan in Los Angeles.
Feb. 27, 2000: Thirty Something
Kobe Bryant drives the lane against the Houston Rockets' Anthony Miller. Bryant scored 31 points in the Lakers' 101-85 win.
Bryant scored 30 or more points eight times in the season.
May 7, 2000: Winning and Advancing
Kobe Bryant heads to the basket against Phoenix Suns guard Shawn Marion during Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. The Lakers won the series 4-1.
May 10, 2000: Man on a Mission
Kobe Bryant drives past the Phoenix Suns' Todd Day during their Western Conference semifinal game. The Lakers won 97-96.
May 20, 2000: No Fear
Kobe Bryant drives to the basket against Portland Trail Blazer power forward Rasheed Wallace during Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. The Lakers won the game 109-94. Kobe scored 13 points.
June 19, 2000: The World Is Ours
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal hug and lift their arms in victory after taking the NBA championship in six games with a 116-111 win over the Indiana Pacers in Los Angeles.
Kobe averaged 21.1 points per game in 22 playoff games in the 1999-2000 postseason. Shaq averaged 30.7 points per game and 15.4 rebounds and was named Finals MVP.
June 19, 2000: Blood, Sweat and Tears
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson, left, waves to the crowd as Kobe Bryant gets emotional during the trophy presentation after the Lakers beat the Pacers to win the NBA championship in Los Angeles. At far right is Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss.
The championship was the 12th in Lakers franchise history and first for Kobe, who was only 21, and Shaq, who was 27. It also was the first of the Kobe-Shaq-Phil era.
This was a key moment in the life of Kobe, who went to be a five-time NBA champion.
June 21, 2000: Dreams Are Made to Come True
Kobe Bryant gestures to the crowd from atop a doubledecker bus as the Lakers' victory parade arrives at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Nov. 1, 2000: Time to Defend the Title
Kobe Bryant drives for the basket against Utah Jazz defender John Starks.
Kobe averaged 28.5 points per game, 5.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists in the 2000-01 season.
May 21, 2001: Texas-Sized Dominance
Shaquille O'Neal, left, and Kobe Bryant celebrate at midcourt after beating the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals in San Antonio.
The Lakers went on to sweep the Spurs.
June 6, 2001: Finals Answer
Kobe Bryant steals the ball away from Allen Iverson during Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals between the Lakers and 76ers. Philadelphia won the game 107-101.
June 8, 2001: AI vs. Kobe
Allen Iverson, left, argues with Kobe Bryant at the end of Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Los Angeles. Iverson complained that the Lakers were holding him during the game. The 76ers' Raja Bell looks on at rear. The Lakers went on to win 98-89 to even the series at 1-1.
June 15, 2001: Repeat
Kobe Bryant goes up for a rebound in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The Lakers won their second straight NBA championship, defeating the 76ers 108-96 to clinch the best-of-seven series in five games.
The Lakers went 15-1 in that postseason in one of the most dominating playoff performances by a team in NBA history.
Feb. 1, 2002: Ready for Another Title Defense
Kobe Bryant passes the ball past the Memphis Grizzlies' Brevin Knight and Grant Long in Memphis, Tennessee.
Kobe averaged 25.2 points per game in 5.5 assists in his sixth year in the league.
Feb. 6, 2002: Definition of Intensity
Kobe Bryant reacts as his shot doesn't drop after drawing a foul against the Chicago Bulls.
May 14, 2002: Will to Win
Kobe Bryant watches the clock run down the final seconds of Game 5 of the Lakers' Western Conference semifinal against the San Antonio Spurs.
Bryant had a team-high 26 points as the Lakers won 93-87 to advance to the Western Conference finals.
May 18, 2002: Posterizer
Kobe Bryant dunks the ball against the Sacramento Kings during Game 1 of their Western Conference final playoff game in Sacramento, California.
June 2, 2002: Stepping Up in a Big Way
Kobe Bryant hangs onto the rim after a slam dunk against the Sacramento Kings in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals in Sacramento, California. Bryant scored 30 points in the Lakers’ 112-106 overtime victory over the Kings to advance to the NBA Finals.
June 12, 2002: Game, Set and Match
Kobe Bryant goes high to dunk as the New Jersey Nets' Kenyon Martin and Kerry Kittles look during Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The Lakers closed out the series with a 113-107 win.
Kobe Bryant finished with 25 points and averaged 26.6 point per game in the postseason.
June 12, 2002: Can You Say Three-Peat?
Kobe Bryant, holding the championship trophy, celebrates with teammates Rick Fox, Lindsey Hunter and Shaquille O'Neal, right, holding the MVP trophy, after winning Game 4 of the NBA Finals, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The Lakers defeated the New Jersey Nets 113-107 to capture their third consecutive NBA championship.
June 12, 2002: Dynamic Duo's Last Hurrah
This was the last hardware Kobe and Shaq would win together on the Lakers.
July 10, 2002: To the Victor Go the Spoils
Kobe Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, pose with the ESPY he accepted on behalf of the Lakers for best team during the 10th annual ESPY Awards in Los Angeles.
Nov. 22, 2002: Better Than Ever
Kobe Bryant goes up for a shot against the Chicago Bulls.
Kobe averaged a career-high 30.0 points per game in the 2002-03 season, his seventh NBA campaign.
April 15, 2003: All Smiles
Shaquille O'Neal, left, and Kobe Bryant share a laugh on the bench during a game against the Denver Nuggets at the Staples Center.
Bryant scored a game-high 32 points, and O'Neal finished with 19 to help defeat the Nuggets 126-104.
May 11, 2003: Not This Year
Kobe Bryant goes up for a shot against the San Antonio Spurs during Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal series. The Lakers won the game 99-95 to even the series at two but lost the next two games and were eliminated from the playoffs, ending their championship run at three straight.
Nov. 4, 2003: Can Shaq and Kobe Co-Exist?
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal warm up before a game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The 2003-04 season is the last season Kobe and Shaq will play together on the Lakers, who trade Shaq to the Miami Heat in the 2004 offseason for Caron Butler, Brian Grant, Lamar Odom, a 2006 first-round draft pick (Jordan Farmar was later selected) and a 2007 second-round draft pick (Renaldas Seibutis was later selected).
Nov. 21, 2003: Still Hungry
Kobe Bryant reacts after sinking a basket against the Chicago Bulls.
Kobe played in 65 games in the 2003-04 season and averaged 24.0 points per game.
June 8, 2004: A Glimmer of Hope
Kobe Bryant spins around as the crowd celebrates after Bryant scored a 3-pointer in the final seconds of Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons to tie the game and send it into overtime. The Lakers went on to win 99-91, their only win of the series.
June 11, 2004: Keep Moving
Kobe Bryant answers a question during a news conference at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The Detroit Pistons defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 88-68 to take Game 3 of the NBA Finals and led the series 2-1.
June 13, 2004: End of an Era
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal walk upcourt during late second half-action against the Detroit Pistons in Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The Pistons won the game 88-80 and win the series a game later.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson and center Shaquille O'Neal both leave the team, and free-agent Kobe Bryant considers his future with the Lakers.
Oct. 19, 2004: Kobe's Team
Kobe Bryant looks for driving room against the Sacramento Kings during a preseason game in Fresno, California.
In the 2004 offseason, Kobe signed a seven-year, $136 million contract to stay with the Lakers. The team's new coach is Rudy Tomjanovich after Phil Jackson's contract is not renewed.
Nov. 17, 2004: L.A. Story
Kobe Bryant goes up to dunk the ball against the Los Angeles Clippers.
For a minute, Kobe considered signing with the Clippers as a free agent, but he declined an offer.
Jan. 2, 2005: Left Out
Kobe Bryant goes up for a shot against the Denver Nuggets. Kobe Bryant was called for an offensive foul on the play.
Jan. 7, 2005: Life Without Shaq
Tracy McGrady reaches for the ball but snags the shirt of Kobe Bryant during a game.
With no more Shaq on the court for the Lakers, Kobe had to adjust to being without a dominant big man in the paint.
There were some definite growing pains as the Lakers finished with a losing record (34-48), finished in fourth place in the Pacific Division and missed the playoffs.
Jan. 9, 2006: Help Wanted
Kobe Bryant jukes out Indiana Pacers guard Fred Jones before scoring. Bryant scored 45 points as the Lakers won 96-90.
Bryant scored 30 or more points 56 times in the 2005-06 season. But the team only won 45 games and lost in the first round to the Phoenix Suns.
Jan. 22, 2006: Scoring Machine
The Toronto Raptors' Matt Bonner can't stop Kobe Bryant from getting to the basket in Los Angeles. No one could stop Bryant, who scored 81 points in the game as the Lakers beat the Raptors, 122-104.
Bryant averaged a career-high 35.4 points per game for the season and led the league.
Feb. 17, 2007: Good Times With an Old Legend
Basketball great Bill Russell shares a laugh with Kobe Bryant at All-Star Saturday Night, a part of NBA All-Star weekend in Las Vegas.
Dec. 13, 2007: Returning to Glory?
Kobe Bryant drives to the basket to score against the San Antonio Spurs at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Bryant led all players with 30 points, and the Lakers won 102-97.
Bryant also led the league in scoring with 31.6 points per game, and the Lakers returned to the NBA Finals.
But they lost to the Boston Celtics.
June 15, 2008: We Meet Again
Kobe Bryant dunks the ball against the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the NBA Finals after stealing the ball. The Lakers won 103-98 to make it a 3-2 series.
June 17, 2008: Close, But No Cigar
Kobe Bryant gets mauled by Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA Finals in Boston. Boston won its 17th championship, beating the Lakers 131-92.
Aug. 24, 2008: Golden State
Team USA, with Kobe Bryant at top right, celebrates after their win over Spain in the men's gold medal basketball game at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
May 19, 2009: Now You See Me, Now You Don't
Kobe Bryant defends Denver Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups during Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
May 29, 2009: Back in Business
Kobe Bryant gestures toward the bench during Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers won the series to advance to the NBA Finals.
June 4, 2009: You Can't Teach This
Kobe Bryant reacts to action against the Orlando Magic during Game 1 of the NBA Finals in Los Angeles. The Lakers beat the Magic in five games to win the NBA title. It was Kobe's first championship without Shaq, and it wasn't easy.
A fire burned inside Kobe that few people have. Whatever you call it — intensity, intestinal fortitude — he hated to lose and was as tough as they come. Not just physically, but mentally.
That's what separates the good players from great ones and great ones from the greatest. Kobe was in select company. And he always will be.
June 14, 2009: The Satisfaction of Success
Kobe Bryant holds the championship trophy and NBA Finals MVP trophy after the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic 99-86 in Game 5 in Orlando, Florida, to win the series.
June 17, 2009: Another Parade
Kobe Bryant waves while holding his daughter Gianna as the Lakers' NBA basketball world championship parade gets underway in Los Angeles. Kobe's wife Vanessa, second from right, and their daughter Natalia, right, look on.
Jan. 25, 2010: Hail to the Champions
Your 2009 NBA champions Los Angeles Lakers.
May 27, 2010: Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork
Kobe Bryant reacts after Pau Gasol dunked during Game 5 of the Western Conference finals against the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers won the game 103-101 and closed out the series in six games.
June 17, 2010: This Is What All Those 4 A.M. Workouts Get You
Kobe Bryant celebrates with the NBA Finals MVP trophy after the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics, 83-79, to win Game 7 of the NBA Finals in Los Angeles.
Kobe didn't just beat you on the court. He would beat you off it, too. That's why he did those famous 4 a.m. workouts. His fifth ring was the end result.
"Pain doesn’t tell you when you ought to stop," Kobe once said. "Pain is the little voice in your head that tries to hold you back because it knows if you continue you will change."
June 17, 2010: We're No. 1 Again
Derek Fisher, center, holds the Larry O'Brien Trophy, and Kobe Bryant, right, holds the MVP trophy as they celebrate after beating the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
It was the Lakers' 16th NBA championship.
Jan. 28, 2011: The Entertainer
Kobe Bryant, left, goes up for a dunk against the Sacramento Kings.
The man knew how to make a statement — and rock the house.
July 14, 2011: Follow the Leader
Kobe Bryant embraces South Korean students in his basketball clinic for youth in Seoul, South Korea. Bryant was in Seoul for his five Asian cities tour and loving life, following his own advice.
"Have a good time," Kobe Bryant said in 2008. "Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, smile and just keep on rolling."
Sept. 17, 2011: Role Model
Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, left, encourages a youth member of the Singapore Basketball Association to complete his set of push-ups during a basketball clinic in Singapore.
Dec. 5, 2012: So Many Extraordinary Accomplishments
Fans greet Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant as he walks off the court after a 103-87 Lakers win against the New Orleans Hornets in New Orleans.
Bryant, at age 34, became the youngest player in NBA history to surpass 30,000 points.
Jan. 25, 2013: How to Be Set for Life
Kobe Bryant goes up for a dunk against the Utah Jazz in Los Angeles.
Look at Kobe's face in this picture. If you can find something in your life that makes you feel like this, you will be set for life.
April 12, 2013: Treat Obstacles as Opportunities
Kobe Bryant grimaces after suffering a torn Achilles tendon against the Golden State Warrior, ending his season. The injury happened after the 34-year-old Kobe was playing heavy minutes (averaging 38.6), and he elected to have surgery, which could take up to 12 months to heal.
At first, Kobe was upset and wrote about his frustration on his Facebook page:
"This is such BS! All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I've done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen ?!? Makes no damn sense. Now I'm supposed to come back from this and be the same player Or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that?? I have NO CLUE. Do I have the consistent will to overcome this thing? Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that was. Maybe this is how my book ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me."
Then, he attacked his healing with typical Kobe determination and embraced the challenge of the injury as an opportunity’s . "One day, the beginning of a new career journey will commence. Today is NOT that day," he wrote.
He resumed practicing again in November 2013, about seven months about the injury.
Dec. 16, 2013: Stay Hungry Like a Mamba
Kobe Bryant drives past Atlanta Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll in Atlanta.
Kobe had resumed playing games on Dec. 8, a little under eight months from his Achilles injury. A few weeks prior to his return, he had signed a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension with the Lakers and remained the highest-paid player in the league. Even though he accepted a discounted rate (he was eligible for an extension starting at $32 million per year), the move was controversial. Some thought he was overpaid. Others thought he deserved.
Then, he hurt his knee and was shut down for the rest of the 2013-14 season and focused on getting ready for the 2014-15 season. While he came back strong, averaging 22.3 points in 34. 5 minutes, the team only won 21 games.
Moral of the story: It's tough to win without supporting players, and success never comes before work except in the dictionary.
Dec. 3, 2014: Always Keep Hustling
Kobe Bryant balances on one foot as he saves the ball from going out of bounds against the Washington Wizards. The Wizards won 111-95.
Dec. 1, 2015: Greatness
Kobe Bryant smiles as he jogs to the bench during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia.
This is what greatness looks like. Kobe gave everything he had in his basketball career — and life — and made the world a better place.
Feb. 6, 2016: Mutual Respect
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant hugs San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich before a game in San Antonio.
March 10, 2016: Passing the Torch
Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant, left, and Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James wait for play to resume during a game in Los Angeles.
James joined the Lakers in 2018. On Jan. 25, 2020, one day before Bryant's death, James passed Bryant to become the third-highest scorer in NBA history with 33,655 points. Bryant, who scored 33,643 points in his NBA career, congratulated James in his final social media post.
"Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames," Kobe tweeted
. "Much respect my brother."
March 28, 2016: Farewell, Road Warrior
Kobe Bryant appreciates the love as he walks off the court in Salt Lake City during one of his last career road games.
Kobe lived to rip out the hearts of opposing teams in their arena, and this happened a lot over the course of 20 seasons.
Opposing fans didn't like getting their hearts ripped out by Kobe, but they respected him as a basketball player and fierce competitor.
April 13, 2016: #ThankYouKobe
A giant banner congratulating Kobe Bryant is draped around Staples Center before his last NBA game, a contest against the Utah Jazz, in Los Angeles.
April 13, 2016: The Last Shot
Kobe Bryant shoots under pressure by Utah Jazz players during the last NBA game of his career against the Utah Jazz.
Kobe loved taking the last shot in games. He was fearless, and when it was money time, few were better or more clutch.
In his final NBA game, he dropped 60 points.
April 13, 2016: A Man for All Seasons
Kobe Bryant smiles during his last NBA basketball game, against the Utah Jazz in Los Angeles.
Kobe brought countless smiles to people during his life. He was transitioning well into life after basketball — winning an Oscar for a short film, writing children’s books and learning how to play tennis — before this incomprehensible tragedy occurred. Now, it's time to learn from all he did.
"This was a man for all seasons," Jerry West told USA Today. "He was more than an iconic basketball player. He was someone who inspired millions of fans. Not here in this state [California], not here in the United States — all over the world.
"I think you can see special talents in people. A lot of people have special talent, but they waste or they never use it . ... He didn't ruin his opportunity. He was never going to give up.
"I think because he started so young that he resonated with so many people, young kids who have hopes and dreams like he did. ... He brought joy to so many young kids that had the same admiration and same desire to do something unique."
Heroes come and go, but legends are forever. The legend of Kobe Bryant will never die.
Related: Most Inspiring Kobe Bryant Murals l Kobe Is Still Making an Impact