Kobe Bryant holds his Oscar for Best Animated Short, with wife Vanessa. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/File Photo
January 27 (Reuters) - Kobe Bryant, who won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, died at age 41 on Sunday in a helicopter crash in California. Here is biographical information on him and highlights from his career.
Born in Philadelphia in 1978, son of former NBA player Joe 'Jellybean' Bryant
Lived for eight years in Italy, where his father played professionally after his National Basketball Association career ended
On returning to the United States, Kobe Bryant attended Lower Merion High School outside Philadelphia and gained a reputation as one of the best high school players in the country
Chosen as the 13th overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1996 draft and immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers
A forward and shooting guard, he made his NBA debut in November 1996 at the age of 18 and played 20 consecutive seasons in the league.
Nicknamed the 'Black Mamba,' he won NBA championships with the Lakers in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010
Won the NBA Most Valuable Player award in 2008, and was named to the NBA All-Star team 18 times
Won Olympic gold medals with the United States in 2008 and 2012
Retired in 2016 after playing 1,346 regular season games and averaging 25 points a game, twice leading the league in scoring
He earned more than $300 million on the court during his career.
His career points total of 33,643 is fourth on the all-time NBA list
Off the court, he married Vanessa Laine in 2001
In 2005, he reached a civil settlement with a woman who said he raped her in a Colorado hotel
Died on Jan. 26, 2020, when a helicopter in which he was a passenger crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California
Kobe Bryant remembered at Grammy Awards hours after his death
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Musicians and performers at the Grammy Awards paid tribute to Kobe Bryant on Sunday at his former home arena, the Staples Center in Los Angeles, hours after the NBA great was killed some 40 miles (65 km) away in a helicopter crash.
Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven other people died on Sunday morning when the helicopter they were riding in went down in heavy fog and hilly terrain in suburban Calabasas, northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
"Tonight is for Kobe," pop star Lizzo announced as she took the stage to open the Grammy Awards before performing exuberant versions of her hits "Cuz I Love You" and "Truth Hurts" to a standing ovation.
"We are all feeling crazy sadness right now, because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero
and we're literally standing here, heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built," the show's host, Alicia Keys, said in remarks to open the show.
Keys then brought members of the Boyz II Men on stage to join them in an a capella version of their ballad "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye," dedicated to Bryant.
The show was being broadcast from the Staples Center, home court for the Los Angeles Lakers, where Bryant starred for two decades as one of the NBA's all-time greatest players.
"It’s a real tough day and we want to send our love to the families, the kids, the mothers,” performer DJ Khaled said backstage. "It’s hard to catch a vibe right now at this moment but we’re going to do it."
Teen pop star Billie Eilish, a Los Angeles native nominated for six Grammy awards on the night, posted a photo of Bryant on her Instagram account, along with a video clip of the basketball star Bryant talking with Gianna.
Eilish, 18, captioned the video simply: “Uggghhhhhhhhh”
Grammy nominee Camila Cabello also posted a photo of Bryant on Instagram and wrote that, despite not being a basketball fan, his documentary “MUSE” got her through a painful time in her life.
“I watched every interview, I read every quote of his, and I wish that he knew how many times he saved me, how many times he helped me access a champion in myself that I couldn’t have seen on my own,” the singer wrote.