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Although Bryant’s basketball accomplishments overshadowed his film efforts, he was an Oscar winner for his five-minute autobiographical short film Dear Basketball. The Los Angeles Laker great wrote, executive produced and lent his voice to the project, which won the best animated short Oscar at the 2018 ceremony.
Bryant’s death along with eight others in a helicopter crash Sunday sent shock waves throughout Los Angeles, where he played for 20 years with the Lakers and won five NBA championships.
Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were aboard his private helicopter when it crashed in Calabasas, California, about 30 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. Hollywood continues to mourn his sudden death.
The Academy on Sunday paid tribute to Bryant in a touching Instagram post, writing, “They doubted a kid could make it in the NBA and he proved them wrong.They doubted he could win a championship and he proved them wrong. They doubted he could make movies and he won an Oscar. Like all great artists, Kobe Bryant proved the doubters wrong. Rest in peace.”
Other organizations have also reacted to Bryant’s death in different ways. The NBA postponed the first Lakers game following the accident, and the league did not state when that game against the Los Angeles Clippers would take place following the decision.
“The National Basketball Association game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 28 at Staples Center has been postponed,” the NBA tweeted Monday. “The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organization, which is deeply grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday.”
In its first statement about Bryant’s death, issued later Monday, the Lakers said, “The Los Angeles Lakers would like to thank all of you for the tremendous outpouring of support and condolences. This is a very difficult time for all of us. We continue to support the Bryant family and will share more information as it is available.”
More L.A. institutions have been paying tribute to Bryant since it was reported the former guard and his daughter died. Southern California radio stations honored the basketball legend with eight seconds of silence on Monday, in reference to one of Bryant’s jersey numbers, No. 8. ESPN also re-aired Bryant’s final NBA game on Monday night to “honor [his] life and legacy.”
On Sunday, the night of the Grammys, fans gathered around Staples Center, where Bryant played for the Lakers, chanting, holding signs and leaving flowers in memoriam. When the awards ceremony began, host Alicia Keys called the venue “the house that Kobe Bryant built.” Subsequent tributes were included in performances and appearances from stars such as Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus, Priyanka Chopra, Run-DMC and Aerosmith.
NBA on TNT has also planned a tribute for Tuesday during pregame coverage inside Staples Center with Inside the NBA‘s Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith joined by Dwyane Wade, Candace Parker and Steve Nash.
Elsewhere in L.A., at Vineyard and Pickford Streets, a mural was unveiled Monday in tribute to Bryant and his daughter, ABC 10 reported. The image reads “Kobe & Gigi Forever” and “Daddy’s Girl.”
Bryant played for the L.A. Lakers for two decades, becoming a five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star. At the conclusion of his career, he was the Lakers’ leader in points scored, games played, three-pointers, steals and free throws, and was the first NBA player to spend 20 years with one franchise.
Along with Bryant and his daughter, seven others were killed in the helicopter crash, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, including Orange County Coast College coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their 13-year-old daughter Alyssa; youth basketball coach Christina Mauser; mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester; and the pilot, Ara Zobayan. The crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.
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