Kobe Bryant, who Sunday in California at age 41, will be remembered as one of b

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Kobe Bryant, who Sunday in California at age41, will be remembered as one of basketball's all-time greats.Hisstaggering career spanned 20 years and was spent solely with the Lakers. Among his accomplishments were five Jeremy Roenick Jersey NBA championships, 18 All-Star appearances, All-NBA First Team honors on 11 occasions and nine All-Defensive First Team selections.REACTIONS: The self-styled "Black Mamba" became the first guard to be drafted straight out of high school when he went 13th overall to the Hornets in the 1996 NBA Draft. The Lakers sent center Vlade Divac to the Hornets for his draft rights.While he spent most of his first season playing limited minutes off the bench, he displayed the superstar talent that would go on to transcend the game when, at 18, he became the youngest player to win the Slam Dunk Contest at the 1997 All-Star weekend.Baby Mamba was a different beast /// Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) It did not take long for comparisons to Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan to emerge in his breakout season of 1998-99, when Frans Nielsen Jersey Bryant started all 50 games in a season shortened due to a lockout and earned a six-year contract extension worth $70 million.It was a decision that quickly paid dividends as the Lakers established one of the league's greatest dynasties, winning the title in each of the next three campaigns with Bryant forming a formidable partnership alongside dominant center Shaquille O'Neal.Their relationship was fractious Bryant's hard-working philosophy and insatiable desire for improvement, the "Mamba Mentality."often at odds with what he perceived to be a le s profe sional approach from O'Neal Dylan DeMelo Jersey . Their chemistry on the floor, however, was undeniable as the Lakers won the NBA Finals in 2000, 2001 and 2002, only the fifth three-peat in league history.Living legends & sit down for a conversation surrounding their relationship through the years & three consecutive championships7pm/et Saturday ! NBA (@NBA) Bryant and O'Neal parted ways after the 2004 NBA Finals lo s to the Detroit Pistons, and the following year the Lakers mi sed the playoffs Torrey Mitchell Jersey for the first time in 11 seasons. A positive response to adversity is the hallmark of a champion, and Bryant was seemingly spurred onto greater heights by that setback.In the 2005-06 campaign, Bryant averaged a league-high 35.4 points per game during the regular season he scored a career-high 81 points in a 122-104 victory against the Toronto Raptors in January 2006, an iconic performance with a tally that only Wilt Chamberlain has bettered.His wait for another ring continued, however with upset lo ses to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the postseason in 2006 and 2007. Again, Bryant stepped up his level in response and was named NBA MVP as the Lakers returned to the Finals in 2008, but they went down 4-2 to the Boston Celtics.There was soon reason for celebration as Bryant led the United States to gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 something he did again in London four years later and his wait for a fourth ring was over when the Lakers overcame the Orlando Magic in the 2009 Finals after an impre sive 65-17 Adam Oates Jersey record in the regular season.Ten years ago today, defeated Australia 92-65 to win the gold medal at the 2008 in Beijing! USA Basketball (@usabasketball) The Lakers rallied from 3-2 down in the following year's Finals to triumph in Game 7, but the franchise slumped into obscurity following the departure of head coach Phil Jackson.A torn Achilles ended Bryant's season in April 2013 and injuries soon became a persistent problem for him, but at 35 he earned a two-year, $48 million extension that ensured he remained the league's best-paid Dave Taylor Jersey player.He said goodbye to the NBA in 2016 in typically distinguished fashion a 60-point game against the Utah Jazz in the seasonfinale on April 13. Bryant was honored by the Lakers with his Nos. 8 and 24 jerseys being retired to the rafters at Staples Center.Bryant's final game was a fitting farewell and a testament to the perseverance and dedication that rightfully earned him the status of a legend and giant of the sport.

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