Recognised as one of the greatest internationally acclaimed basketball players of all time and a truly inspiring ambassador on and off the court, Kobe Bryant, at the age of 41, died in a devastating helicopter crash Sunday morning, which also took the life of his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
On the court, Bryant led the Los Angeles Lakers for two decades, winning five NBA finals. Bryant was also a true ambassador of the Olympic Movement, leading the US Olympic Basketball Team to win two Olympic gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. To Bryant, Olympic gold was a victory from the highest level. In an interview after Team USA’s 2008 Olympic victory he stated, “I just held it there, and I laid it across my bed. I just stared at it for a few minutes. Just because, as a kid growing up, this is the ultimate, ultimate in basketball.” His ongoing work as an Olympic ambassador lead to Los Angeles securing the bid for the 2028 Olympic Games. “To have the Olympics here and to have so many different cultures represented is a beautiful story to tell.” This was one of Black Mamba’s legacies as a true ambassador of the Olympic Movement.
Upon retirement, Kobe kept active in the sports community, being an inspiration to aspiring youth athletes. Bryant was en route to his daughter’s basketball tournament amongst other kids and coaches on the plane.
The entire sporting community bows down to this amazing athlete, father and ambassador of sport and sends our condolences to the Bryant Family and the families of the other victims involved in this very tragic accident.