On Sunday, the sports world was rocked by the death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. Bryant, along with his 13-year old daughter Gianna and seven others, in California. The group was on their way to a youth basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks.
The Lakers star accumulated five NBA titles, two NBA Finals MVPs, 18 All-Star Game appearances, was an 11-time member of the All-NBA First Team and a league MVP (2008). In addition, both of Bryant's numbers (8 and 24) are retired by the Lakers.
Considering all that Bryant brought to the game of basketball, the Lakers legend was. Several newspapers paid tribute to Bryant on their front and back page covers on Monday.
While the loss of Bryant was felt all over the world, there is no city more heartbroken than Los Angeles. Bryant spent his entire career with the Lakers after the franchise acquired him in the 1996 NBA Draft.
Fans congregated outside of the Staples Center to pay tribute to Bryant after news of his death spread on Sunday. The Lakers have had so many legends play for the team throughout their history, but Bryant's persona was larger than life and it may have made him the most beloved.
Bryant was born in Philadelphia in 1978 while his father, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, was playing for the Philadelphia 76ers. When Kobe was six years old, his father moved the family to Italy while he pursued a professional career overseas.
Later in his amateur career, Kobe Bryant starred at Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia's Main Line suburbs. That was where Bryant really made a name for himself: he averaged 30.8 points per contest during his senior season. Bryant was ultimately drafted with the No. 12 pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, before his rights were traded to the Lakers.
Bryant also had an abundance of success against the New York Knicks over the years. In fact, Bryant set the record for points for a visiting player with a 61-point performance against the Knicks on Feb. 2, 2009. Houston Rockets guard James Harden tied the record last season with a 61-point outing at Madison Square Garden.
Bryant had a storied history with the Boston Celtics, the Lakers' biggest rival, during his NBA career. In the 2008 NBA Finals, the Celtics defeated Bryant and the Lakers in six games to win the NBA title with their core group of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen.
However, in the 2010 NBA Finals, Bryant got his revenge against the Celtics as he helped lead the Lakers to the NBA title in seven games. Bryant was named the NBA Finals MVP as he averaged 28.6 points-per-game during the seven-game series.