NBA legend Kobe Bryant was riding in a private helicopter on January, 26th with his daughter Gianna when the vehicle crashed, killing both the multiple-championship winner, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.
Kobe was arguably the NBA's biggest star since Michael Jordan, ushering in a new "dynasty" of basketball and adding to the Lakers' already impressive resume of high-profile victories.
Known for being a perpetual student of the game and exhibiting a dedication that was rare even among top professionals in the league, Kobe stunned the basketball world on several occasions. His retirement game was a masterpiece, he led the Lakers to several rings, and he once scored a mind-boggling 81 points in a single game alone.
His exploits off the court and after his basketball career were equally impressive.
Kobe created, wrote, and narrated the 2018 Oscar winner for best animated short, Dear Basketball. Not bad for his first foray into film. He's supported and has been involved in no less than seven separate charities throughout his career as a top basketball player and was respected by a wide breadth of not only those in the basketball world, but several high profile actors, politicians, and a great number of people he's come into contact with.
Understandably, the Los Angeles legend became a home town hero for everyone all over California, especially in Hollywood. A great number of stars were shocked to hear the news that their homecourt hero and his daughter had suddenly passed away.
There are throngs of people expressing their condolences online, along with how much Kobe meant to them. I know several people close to me, especially a dear friend and cast member on Ghost Hunters, who has been a lifelong Lakers fan, who is absolutely shaken by the news.
Much can be said of Kobe's accomplishments on the court: he's a five time NBA champion, earning rings in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Then again in 2009 and 2010. He was the finals MVP two years in a row, an 18-time NBA All Star, an NBA league MVP, four-time All Star Game MVP, two-time NBA scoring champion, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and he's the Lakers all-time leading scorer with 33,643 career points, among other distinctions.
But perhaps Kobe's biggest asset weren't his physical attributes or athletic predilections, but he was reported to have a work ethic like no other player in the game. He never took "days off" and was a perpetual hard worker in the gym, embodying the "first to show, last to leave" mentality.
In fact, Kobe achieved an almost mythical status before every game, showing up hours before practice to drill his shooting, working anywhere from 500 to 1,000 separate shots, from all areas of the court, working in and out, in and out.
Often, teammates and members of the opposing team would wonder just how in the world Kobe would get right into a game and already be on fire. That's because he dedicated a lot of time to warming up.
His love for the game started at a young age — he used to challenge fellow members of his high school basketball team to games of 100. Not 11, not 21, but 100.
Sometimes, during games even, Kobe would take out a laptop to show video footage of himself and teammates on how to get easier shots for themselves on the court.
In fact, Kobe's work ethic was so impressive, Michael Jordan, known as one of the hardest grinders on the court who isn't afraid to honk his own horn, either, compared Kobe's tenacity to his own. If that doesn't speak volumes as to the kind of legend Kobe is, I don't know what does.
Our thoughts are with the Bryant family during this difficult time.