- Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter accident at age 41.
- His last tweet congratulated LeBron James for moving the game forward.
- Kobe has moved the game forward as much as anyone.
Last night, about 14 hours before Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter died tragically in a helicopter accident, he congratulated LeBron James for passing him on the all-time scoring list. He acknowledged James for continuing to move the game forward.
Kobe Bryant congratulates LeBron James after passing him on the scoring list. | Source: Twitter
But this sentiment could just as easily be applied to Bryant himself. Hes been one of the most forward-thinking superstars the NBA has seen, and his legacy will be unforgettable.
Kobe Bryant Continued to Push the Envelope After He Retired
After retiring as with five championships under his belt, Kobe was not content to sit around and enjoy his retirement. So, he did what any competitive, creative mastermind would do. He won an Oscar.
Bryant, working with Glen Keane Productions, turned his retirement letter into a short film called Dear Basketball. His victory came less than a month after Fox News journalist Laura Ingraham told LeBron James and Kevin Durant to stop criticizing Donald Trump and shut up and dribble.
While accepting his Academy Award, Bryant made sure to call out the journalist,
I dont know if its possible. I mean, as basketball players, were really supposed to shut up and dribble, but Im glad we do a little bit more than that.
Bryant did much more than dribble. He even did more than win an Oscar. He also spearheaded the ESPN series Detail. Bryant would break down elements of the game into fine detail.
Eventually, other greats like Peyton Manning, Nick Saban, and MMA fighter Daniel Cormier would join Bryants show.
As our attention spans get shorter and shorter, Kobe zagged where others zigged and took us on a deep-dive into the minds of expert athletes. This trend could continue to grow, providing us with yet another way hell continue to move the game forward, even after hes gone.
Of Course, Kobe Was a Trendsetter on the Court As Well
We could list off Kobe Bryants basketball accomplishments for days, but his career can be summed up in three numbers: 18, 81, and 20.
Bryant joined the league in 1996, just barely an 18-year-old. Fresh out of high school, he was the youngest player in the history of the NBA at that time. It didnt take him long to stand out among grown men.
At 19, he became the youngest starter in the All-Star game. By age 21, he was winning NBA championships. He would go on to win a whopping five titles, but one of his most memorable on-court moments didnt happen in the playoffs.
In January 2006, Kobe turned in a game for ages when he scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. No one had scored that many points since Wilt Chamerblains record-setting 100 point night in 1962. No one has scored that many since.
Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson said,
That was something to behold. It was another level. Ive seen some remarkable games, but Ive never seen one like that before.
And Bryant accomplished all of his great feats for one team. He played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 years. Hes one of only two players ever to play for one team for at least 20 years.
Although he got antsy at times, Kobe remained loyal to blue and gold. He will go down as one of the greatest Lakers ever, even with LeBron James still doing great things.
Kobe was pushing the game forward his entire life. He sums it up best in his retirement letter.
Im ready to let you go.I want you to know nowSo we both can savor every moment we have left together.The good and the bad.We have given each otherAll that we have.
Thank you, Kobe Bryant, for giving us all that you had.
This article was edited by Gerelyn Terzo.