Gone too soon. Kobe Bryant died at the age of 41 on January 26, 2020, but left behind quite a legacy. The NBA star, as well as his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died in a fiery helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff confirmed there were nine people on board the helicopter that crashed, none of whom survived. They were reportedly on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for Gianna’s basketball game. Kobe was her coach.
During his final interview, the five-time champion opened up about coaching after retiring and how important it was to him.
“You got to do what you love to do,” he told USA Today Sports in a profile published on Thursday, January 23. “I love telling stories. I love inspiring kids or providing them with tools that are going to help them. … Coaching youth sports is so important to take very seriously because you’re helping the emotional [development] of young kids, so it’s understanding not to be overcritical and understanding that [there] are going to be mistakes.”
During a 2018 interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, he opened up about his daughter and her hopes to become a basketball star.
“The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans will come up to me and she’ll be standing next to me and say, ‘Hey you’ve got to have a boy, you and [wife] Vanessa [Bryant] have to have a boy, somebody to carry on the tradition, the legacy,'” he told Kimmel. “She’s like, ‘Hey, I got this. Don’t need no boy for that. I got this.'”
Bryant was survived by Vanessa, 37, and their daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
Scroll through the timeline below for some of the many highlights of the athlete’s life.