The sports world was rocked Sunday by the stunning news that Los Angeles Lakers legend
Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in California. The 41-year-old, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and several others were traveling to Gianna's basketball game when the crash occurred, sources said.
Bryant, who retired after the 2016 season, won five NBA championships with the Lakers and was named an All-Star 18 times in his career. Here is a look back at some of the most memorable moments of his illustrious career and the impact he made on basketball and culture around the world.
Bryant hailed from Philadelphia and followed in the footsteps of his father, former 76er Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, though his accomplishments on the court would far outpace his dad's. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images Even as he led the Lakers to five NBA titles, Bryant's stature as a solo artist made him a hero to millions around the world. Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images More: The sports world mourns the death of Kobe Bryant In the days before YouTube, Bryant's agile, powerful jams filled highlight reels and videotapes. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images Bryant won his second NBA title in his hometown on June 15, 2001, as he and the Lakers defeated Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers in five games. Robert Mora/NBAE/Getty Images Bryant's fearlessness and competitiveness were as much his trademarks as his athleticism. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan Bryant and Lakers coach Phil Jackson built a legacy and won five rings together, even if they didn't always see eye to eye. AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian As a rookie, Bryant won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest on Feb. 8, 1997, in Cleveland. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images Bryant's game and persona often seemed patterned on Michael Jordan's, and their NBA careers overlapped for four seasons. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images In a January 2006 game, Bryant had one of the best single-game performances in NBA history, dropping 81 points on the Toronto Raptors. Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images Bryant won his first of two NBA Finals MVP trophies in 2009, when the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic in five games. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill Bryant won three championships with Shaquille O'Neal, who in a tribute on Instagram called Bryant "my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships." Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images Bryant had a flair for the dramatic rarely matched during his 20-year NBA career. Since he entered the league in the 1996-97 season, no player had more go-ahead field goals made in the final minute of the fourth quarter and overtime. Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images Bryant won gold medals with Team USA at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Christian Petersen/Getty Images Bryant had 30 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in the title-clinching Game 5 as the Lakers defeated the Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals to give Bryant the fourth of his five NBA championships and first Finals MVP award. EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images Bryant, shown here preparing for a Western Conference playoff game in 2008, followed up his regular-season MVP campaign by leading the Lakers to the 2008 NBA Finals, where they were upset by the Boston Celtics. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images Bryant's star shined over more than just the court. His film "Dear Basketball" won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2018. Mike Coppola/VF18/Getty Images Bryant sat courtside with his family during a December 2017 game between the Lakers and Warriors at Staples Center on the night his jerseys were retired. Prensa Internacional/ZUMA Wire Bryant fist-bumps his daughter Gianna after the last game of his career, a thrilling finale inside Staples Center during which he scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz on April 13, 2016. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
Both of the numbers Bryant wore with the Lakers, Nos. 8 and 24, hang in the rafters inside Staples Center. He's the only player in NBA history with two numbers retired by the same franchise. Harry How/Getty Images