John's Weekly Sports Wrap-Up: Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant Dies In Helicopter Crash at age 41
The sports headlines were dominated by one major story this week. A story that sent shockwaves throughout the world, legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant was among 9 people killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday. His 13-year old daughter Gianna was also among the victims.
Bryant was a much-beloved figure by fans of virtually any sport. An impressive career resume included 5 NBA Titles, 2 Finals MVPs, an NBA MVP in 2008, 18 NBA All-Star appearances, and being selected the All-NBA First Team 11 times. He led the NBA in scoring on two different occasions, while also being named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team 9 times and winning two Olympic Gold Medals with Team USA. As a result, the Los Angeles Lakers, the only team Bryant ever played for in his 20-year career, retired both the number 8 and 24. 2020 will be his first year on the ballot for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame has already announced its intentions to induct the NBA icon.
Off the court, Bryant was a renaissance man of sorts. He took home an Academy Award in 2018 for the animated short "Dear Basketball" and created a New York Times Best Selling book series inspired by the classic Harry Potter series. Bryant was also known for his fluency in multiple languages including, English, Italian, and Spanish.
He is survived by his wife Vanessa and their 3 surviving daughters, Natalia 17, Bianka 3, and Capri 7 months.
The story marked touching tributes from all across the globe. 8 NBA games were played Sunday, and all of them were dotted moments of silence, teams taking 24 and 8-second violations, and Madison Square Garden being lit purple and gold. The Lakers were due to play the rival Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday in a game that has since been postponed. Social Media was flooded with posts about Bryant all week, and many across the NBA continued to come up with unique tributes to honor Bryant's legacy.
What to Watch This Weekend
The Los Angeles Lakers will play in their first game since the death of Kobe Bryant on Friday night at the Staples Center. The Lakers will host the Portland Trail Blazers in a nationally televised game on ESPN, as multiple pregame activities are planned to honor Bryant. On Saturday, college basketball takes center stage, with the SEC matchup of #13 Kentucky and #17 Auburn being the best game of the day at 5 p.m. on ESPN. On Sunday, the 2019-2020 NFL season concludes as the San Fransisco 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. The Chiefs led by former NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes will look for their first Super Bowl in 50 years, as the 49ers look to use defense to propel them to their first title since 1995. The game will conclude the NFL's 100th anniversary season and kickoff at 5:30 p.m. with Fox broadcasting the game nationally.