Kobe Bryant has created memories, overcome setbacks and reached milestones during his 20-year NBA career, which ended in 2016 on a magical night at Staples Center. Here are some key moments in the career of a five-time champion and 18-time All-Star.
Byrant was killed Sunday Jan. 26, 2020 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas.
Kobe Bryant poses for a portrait after being selected by the Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft on June 26, 1996 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Jerry West boldly trades his starting center, Vlade Divac, to the Charlotte Hornets for Bryant, a 17-year-old prodigy from the Philadelphia suburbs by way of Italy. Nearly two decades later, Bryant has become the top scorer in the history of the 16-time NBA champion franchise, which happened to be his favorite team growing up.
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Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for one of his slam dunks that won first place in the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest at Gund Arena on February 8, 1997 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Bryant has 26 points and 10 rebounds against the Indiana Pacers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, teaming with Shaquille O'Neal and coach Phil Jackson to lead the Lakers to their first championship together. They won it all in each of the next two seasons as well, establishing the first dynasty of the 21st Century.
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Shaquille O’Neal #34 and Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers pose for a photo after the Lakers’ 2001 NBA Championship parade held June 18, 2001 in Los Angeles, California.
Bryant scores 30 points in the Lakers' 112-106 overtime victory over the Sacramento Kings in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals, ending one of the greatest playoff series in NBA history. The Lakers swept New Jersey to win their third straight title in the anticlimactic NBA Finals.
An ordinary Sunday home game in a mediocre Lakers season turns into magic when Bryant goes off for 81 points, the second-highest total in NBA history. He mostly did it on jumpers in a close game, hitting seven 3-pointers while going 28 for 46 from the field and 18 for 20 from the line. Sure, he only had two assists. Not a soul at Staples Center cared.
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(L-R) Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and Chris Bosh of the United States hold their gold medals after defeating Spain 118-107 in the gold medal game during Day 16 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium on Aug. 24, 2008 in Beijing, China.
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President Barack Obama (R) poses for photographs with Kobe Bryant (C), Derek Fisher and members of the National Basketball Association 2009 champions Los Angeles Lakers in the East Room of the White House January 25, 2010 in Washington, DC. The Lakers bested the Orlando Magic to win the NBA Finals in 2009.
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Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates after winning over the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 17, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
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Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers walks towards the tunnel after scoring 60 points against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
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Kobe Bryant smiles at halftime as both his #8 and #24 Los Angeles Lakers jerseys are retired at Staples Center on December 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.