Kobe Bryant, basketball great and two-time Olympic champion, dies in helicopter crash

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Kobe Bryant, a two-time Olympic champion and one of the greatest basketball players of all time, died in a helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas, Calif. He was 41.

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among a group traveling to a youth basketball tournament, where Kobe Bryant was going to coach his daughter’s team. The flight manifest listed eight passengers and one pilot, according to The Washington Post, and authorities said there were no survivors.

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections and two Olympic gold medals.

“But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.”

“We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world.”

Bryant went directly from high school to the NBA and played his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers, retiring as the league’s third-leading scorer with 33,643 points. He was a member of the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, helping the team to 16 victories without a loss and two gold medals. Bryant retired from international play following the London Games.

Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa, and daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri.

About the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum offers an immersive and universally accessible look into the journey of Team USA’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Through interactive exhibits, innovative displays, and a comprehensive artifact collection, the Museum instills the Olympic values of excellence, friendship, and respect, as well as the Paralympic values of determination, equality, inspiration, and courage in every visitor. It honors yesterday’s legends with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame while inspiring tomorrow’s legends through entertaining activities and events. The USOPM is more than a museum but a life-changing experience that will continue to educate and inspire the public to take part for generations to come.

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