Kobe Bryant was not just a Los Angeles Lakers great, he was an NBA great, a world-wide phenomenon, an Oscar winner and an inspiration to many. The "Mamba Mentality" is something he carried with him and something he taught not just his teammates, or his opponents, but all who watched him. He helped shape the play of those who came after him and those older than him sat in awe as he dominated the league for two decades. 

When the shocking news of his sudden death following a helicopter crash that took the lives of all nine lives on board broke, the world, not just the NBA world, seemed to stop for a moment. Fans, former teammates, friends and those who admired from afar found it difficult to believe that someone larger than life could be gone so quickly. 

Those mourning took to social media to tell Kobe stories and fans gathered at "The House that Kobe Built" to drop flowers, jerseys, messages and basketballs off, coming together with other fans who they likely didn't know, but shared the unbreakable bond of loving No. 24 with. 

Bryant often left people speechless. Where words fail, photos tend to get the job done, and the pictures of his life being re-shared have shown his growth, compassion for others and most of all his love for his family.

Here is a look at the life of Kobe Bryant through photos:

1996: Kobe Bryant, NBA Draft

A young Kobe Bryant decided to skip college and take his talents straight to the NBA. On July 11, 1996, he was selected 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets, who had an agreement with the Lakers and traded his rights to LA. 

Kobe Bryant poses with NBA Commissioner David Stern after being selected in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft on June 26, 1996 at Madison Square Garden. Getty Images

1996: Bryant poses with Lakers jersey

Later that night Bryant posed with his No. 8 Lakers jersey, complete with a Lakers hat and team banners behind him. Bryant chose No. 8 because his high school number, 24, was already taken and his other high school number, 33, is retired for the Lakers. He later changed his number to 24.

Kobe Bryant holds up his No. 8 8 Los Angeles Lakers jersey after being the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, who then traded his draft rights to the Los Angels Lakers on July 11, 1996. Getty Images

2000: Bryant wins first championship

A few years after the 17-year-old entered the league, he saw the payoff that players dream of accomplishing. Bryant hugged the trophy tight after the Lakers defeated the Indiana Pacers in the NBA Finals.

2000 NBA Finals Game 6: Indiana Pacers vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant celebrates with the Championship trophy after beating the Indiana Pacers in Game Six of the 2000 NBA Finals on June 19, 2000 at the Staples Center. Getty Images

2001: The dunk vs. New Jersey Nets

Bryant soars at the Staples Center on New Year's Day in 2001, dunking against the Nets, who then called New Jersey home.

Bryant Dunks v Nets.
Kobe Bryant goes in for a slam dunk against the New Jersey Nets at the Staples Center. Getty Images

2001: Game 1 of the NBA Finals vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Bryant and teammate Shaquille O'Neal put on a show in these NBA Finals. The Lakers won the series, 4-1, marking Bryant's second NBA championship victory. 

After the news of Bryant's passing broke, O'Neal posted a a few messages to his friend along with photos. He said, "There's no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother [Bryant]. I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW."

2001 NBA Finals - Game 1: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant dishes it out to teammate Shaquille O'Neal during Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals. Getty Images

2001: Bryant poses with championship trophy

Possibly the most iconic Kobe photo, here Bryant poses with the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy after defeating the 76ers in five games. 

Kobe Bryant after winning his second NBA Championship. Getty Images

2002: Western Conference starting lineup for 2002 All-Star Game

Bryant and his Western Conference All-Star starting lineup teammates Kevin Garnett, Chris Webber, Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan posed for a photo in honor of the game.

Nowitzki wrote a message to Bryant after the Lakers legend's death, saying, "You inspired so many around the world, including me. You will always be missed. You will always be remembered. You will always be loved. Rest in peace with your angel Gigi."

2002 All-Star Game Western Conference team
The Western Conference starting lineup for the 51st All-Star Game in 2002 was something else. (Back row L-R) Kevin Garnett No. 21, Chris Webber No. 4, Dirk Nowitzki No. 41, Tim Duncan No. 21 and (front) Kobe Bryant No. 8. Getty Images

2003: Bryant and Michael Jordan talk during All-Star Game

Bryant, playing for the Western Conference, and Jordan, playing for the Eastern Conference talk during the first All-Star Game to go into double-overtime. The West won 155-145. 

Bryant was no stranger to All-Star Game's, appearing in 18 during his time in the league. He was an All-Star 10 times wearing No. 8 and eight times wearing No. 24. 

Jordan released a statement on his "little brother" Kobe saying, "Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply — and took great pride in his daughter's love for the game of basketball. Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organization and basketball fans around the world."

Bryant talks with Jordan
Kobe Bryant an Michael Jordan, two of the best to ever do it, at the 2003 NBA All-Star Game. Getty Images

2003: Bryant and wife Vanessa sit at the podium

On July 18, 2003, Bryant was joined by his wife Vanessa to speak in response to Kobe's felony sexual assault charges. The criminal charges were ultimately dropped and Bryant went on to settle a civil suit.

Kobe Bryant Speaks in Response to Felony Sexual Assualt Charges
Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa during the 2003 press conference at Staples Center. USATSI

2004: Western Conference Finals

Bryant and O'Neal faced off against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2004 Western Conference Finals. The Lakers went on to beat the Timberwolves in that series, but fell to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals, losing the series 4-1. 

Lakers v Timberwolves
Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant making more history together in 2004. Getty Images

2006: Bryant scores 81 points

On January 22, 2006, Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, marking the second-most points in a single game by a player in NBA history, behind only Wilt Chamberlain who recorded 100 points in one game. 

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant points in the air in a game he scored 81 points in against the Toronto Raptors on January 22, 2006 at Staples Center. Getty Images

2006: Bryant makes last-second game-winning shot in overtime

On April 30, 2006, Bryant hit a buzzer beater in overtime to sink the Phoenix Suns in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. 

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Game 4
Kobe Bryant carrying his team to the win. Getty Images

Also pictured is former teammate Lamar Odom, who, after Bryant's death, said that given the option he would have gone in Kobe's place.

From Odom's Instagram post:

"He taught me so many things in life that were necessary on and off the court ... I'm glad I got to be the ying to your yang as far as the locker room was concerned. It was my pleasure ... I know I been through my own stuff in life with using drugs and not being good to myself. When I went through that Coma situation if God would have came to me and said we would take me and spare Kobe I would have rather that happened. In honor of my brother I'm up at 4am tomorrow to get to the gym! Gigi gone give you buckets!!!! I love you brother."

2008: Gianna during postgame interview with her father

Following a home win against the Houston Rockets, Gianna, who shared the love of basketball with her father, joined him for an interview. 

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers
An early photo of Gianna Bryant with her father Kobe. Getty Images

2008: The Beijing Olympics

Bryant and LeBron James, along with the rest of Team USA, took home the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Bryant also secured gold in the 2012 Olympics in London. 

Olympics Day 16 - Basketball
One moment in the friendship between two NBA superstars. Getty Images

2009: Kobe wins his fourth NBA championship

Bryant celebrated yet another championship with his family in 2009. Gianna looks at the Larry O'Brien trophy in amazement in front of her dad along with her mom, Vanessa, and her older sister, Natalia. 

The Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic in five games. 

NBA Finals Game 5:  Los Angeles Lakers v Orlando Magic
Kobe celebrated with his entire family after title number four. Getty Images

2010: Bryant visits the White House

After their championship run, the Lakers paid a visit to the White House and met with President Barack Obama. 

NBA Champions LA Lakers Visit President Obama At White House
President Barack Obama, an avid NBA fan, and Kobe Bryant. Getty Images

2010: Bryant celebrates beating Celtics in the NBA Finals

Bryant, who grew up watching the great Boston Celtics-Lakers rivalry, not only got to be part of it, but got to be on the winning side. In June of 2010, Bryant and the Lakers beat their rivals in the Finals. 

NBA Finals Game 7:  Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant runs the ball up the court as he and his team take the win over the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. Getty Images

2010: Bryant family poses with his Kobe's final NBA championship trophy

It is only fitting that his last trophy in the NBA came against a team with such history with the Lakers. The Bryant squad threw up "five" to celebrate. 

NBA Finals Game 7:  Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant and his family celebrating his fifth and final title. Getty Images

2016: Bryant's final game

Bryant called it a career in 2016. Here, No. 24 is headed to the bench, looking emotional as those around him applauded. Bryant scored 60 points in his final NBA game. 

NBA: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant went out like a legend, scoring 60 points in the final game of his NBA career. USATSI

2017: Lakers retire both of Bryant's numbers

Bryant became the first NBA player to have two numbers retired by the same organization. No. 8 and No. 24 will never be worn by any Laker.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, retired No. 24 in his organization following Bryant's death.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant with his family at his retirement ceremony.  USATSI

2018: Bryant wins an Oscar

Bryant won an Academy Award for his short film "Dear Basketball," a love note and reflection to the game that made him who he was. 

Entertainment: 90th Oscars Nominees Luncheon
Kobe Bryant arrives at the 90th Oscars nominees luncheon at the Beverly Hilton. USATSI

2019: Bryant and his daughters enjoy a USWNT game

Bryant and his daughters didn't just like basketball. They posed with USWNT star Megan Rapinoe during the team's 2019 victory tour. 

Ireland v United States - USWNT Victory Tour
Megan Rapinoe with Kobe Bryant and his daughters. Getty Images

2019: Kobe and Gianna catch a game

Bryant and his daughter were in attendance for the Lakers' game against the Dallas Mavericks to watch one of her favorite players, Luka Doncic, earlier this season.

Celebrities At The Los Angeles Lakers Game
Kobe Bryant at his old home, the Staples Center, with his daughter Gianna Bryant. Getty Images