Kobe Bryant, the 18-time All-Star who won five NBA championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career all with the Lakers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday. He was 41.
Bryant inspired a generation of basketball players worldwide with sublime skills and unquenchable competitive fire.
Incidentally, the night before the accident, LeBron James had surpassed Bryant’s spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list during the match against Philadelphia 76ers.
Responding James’ feat, Bryant’s last public statement was a tweet which read: “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644”. Bryant also includes the hashtag “#33644,” referring to the number of points needed to beat his own record that James scored. As of now, it has gathered more than 2 million likes.
Last night, LeBron James recognized that passing Bryant in total points was a tremendous achievement, and he decided to honor the occasion and Kobe’s greatness by writing a special message to the Mamba on his sneakers for the game.
Kobe Bryant, earned Los Angeles’ eternal adoration during his two decades as the fierce soul of the beloved Lakers, and he was respected by basketball fans from every place with a hoop and a dream, including his native Philadelphia and in Italy, his other childhood home.