AP PHOTOS: Kobe Bryant, NBA legend, dies at 41
By any measure, Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest players in NBA history.
The retired Los Angeles Lakers star, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash at age 41, was proudest of his five championship rings, the most recent in 2010. Only four NBA players who weren’t on the Boston Celtics’ 1960s dynasty teams have won more titles. Bryant reached seven NBA Finals.
His career was remarkable for its longevity and because he played all 20 seasons with the Lakers — the most ever for one team. Bryant was the fifth player to last two full decades.
Bryant scored 33,643 career points, third-most in league history, and averaged 25.0 points per game, including a 60-point performance in his final game on April 13, 2016. His 81-point game in on Jan. 22, 2006, against the Toronto Raptors was the second-highest scoring performance in the NBA and arguably the most dazzling single-game offensive performance in hoops history.
He was an 18-time All-Star, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the 2008 NBA MVP.
Bryant’s post-playing career in the entertainment industry began auspiciously when he won an Oscar for “Dear Basketball,” an animated short film based on the letter he wrote announcing his retirement.