The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier of Iowa on the death of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant was a unicorn — one of those people recognized worldwide by a first name — driven to succeed in sports, business and the arts — until his life shockingly ended Sunday.
Bryant, 41, and his daughter, Gianna (“Gigi”), 13, a budding basketball star, were among nine victims as his leased helicopter crashed in dense fog west of Los Angeles en route from Orange County to a game at his Mamba Academy, 80 miles away.
He was named after a steak served at a Japanese restaurant. His father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, was a National Basketball Association journeyman. His mother’s brother, Chubby Cox, played briefly in the NBA.
From age 6, he grew up in Italy while his father played in Europe. He learned Italian. He did a grade-school book report in Latin.
He returned home as a basketball prodigy at Lower Merion High near Philadelphia, escorting pop star Brandy to his prom. He was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in the 13th round and traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. He then became the youngest ever to play in the NBA.
In 20 years with the Lakers, Bryant scored 33,643 points — fourth all-time after being passed by LeBron James Saturday night. He won five titles, made 18 All-Star teams, won a regular-season MVP award and two in the NBA Finals. He scored 81 points in a game, 40 points or more in nine straight, and 50 or more in four straight.
He was brilliant and divisive. Coach Phil Jackson called him “uncoachable.” He feuded with co-star Shaquille O’Neal. After winning three titles together (2001-03), O’Neal was sent packing to Miami, winning a ring in 2006. Bryant teamed with Pau Gasol to win two titles in 2008-09.
After bowing out with a record 60 points in his final game, Bryant embellished his resume in business and the arts. He called on billionaires to improve his financial acumen and the likes of author J.K. Rowling to hone his storytelling.
Bryant Stibel & Co., a venture capital firm, had assets exceeding $2 billion....