Kobe Bryant, Lakers legend and NBA great, dies at 41 in helicopter crash

National News

(CBS SPORTS) Kobe Bryant, 41, died Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The former Los Angeles Lakers legend and NBA superstar was traveling with at least three other passengers, according to TMZ, which first reported that five people are confirmed dead in the crash. Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife, is reportedly not among them. 

Bryant, an Orange County resident, famously took a helicopter to games and practices when playing for the Lakers as a means of avoiding traffic and the confined space of a car. 

The fourth-leading scorer in NBA history with 33,643 career points, Bryant was a five-time NBA champion with the Lakers and 18-time NBA All-Star who was named the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2008. He was twice an NBA Finals MVP and an 11-time All-NBA First Team selection. The two-time NBA scoring champion was known just as much for his prowess on the other end of the court, picking up nine selections to the NBA All-Defensive First Team.

Bryant is especially revered among Lakers fans. He spent his entire 20-year career in Los Angeles, playing more games in purple and gold than anyone in franchise history and holding distinctions as the team’s all-time leader in points, minutes and steals.

Magic Johnson himself has called Bryant the greatest player in Lakers history, a statement that would be supported by millions of fans. Both of Bryant’s jersey numbers — 8 and 24 — were retired by the Lakers.

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