The Empire State Building lit up in Lakers purple and gold on Monday night, in tribute to the fallen NBA legend.
Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, also known as GiGi, were en route to a basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Academy, when their Sikorsky s-76 helicopter crashed. All nine people aboard were killed.
According to the Empire State’s Twitter account, “Our lights will shine in purple and gold this evening as we pay tribute to basketball legend Kobe Bryant, an inspiration to millions across the globe who was taken too soon.”
Our lights will shine in purple and gold this evening as we pay tribute to basketball legend Kobe Bryant, an inspiration to millions across the globe who was taken too soon. Our hearts go out to all of the families, friends, and fans affected by this tragedy. #824Forever pic.twitter.com/m84TbQ2d3y
— Empire State Building (@EmpireStateBldg) January 27, 2020
According to ESPN:
A 6-foot, 6-inch small forward with the ability to swing up front and play point or shooting guard, Bryant entered the NBA straight out of high school. In 1996, he became the youngest player in NBA history.
He won five NBA titles in his time with the Lakers, as well as two Olympic gold medals playing for the United States. Now fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, with 33,643 points, Bryant won two NBA Finals MVP awards and one NBA regular-season MVP nod in 2008.
A native of Philadelphia, Bryant was selected No. 13 overall in 1996 by the Charlotte Hornets before being traded to the Lakers. He wore both No. 8 and 24 with the Lakers, both of which were retired by the franchise.
In December of 2017,the Lakers retired Kobe’s #8 and #24, the two numbers he donned during his 20 years in Los Angeles. Lakers legend Magic Johnson called Bryant the greatest Laker of all-time. Referring to him as “the greatest who’s ever worn the purple and gold.“
Johnson went on to say, “I hope you recorded every game, and I hope you’re doing the same tonight. Because there will never be another Kobe Bryant.”
Lakers Owner Jeanie Buss also came out to heap praise on Bryant. “We’re retiring both of your numbers, because if you separated each of these of the accomplishments under those numbers, each of those players would qualify for the Hall of Fame.”
Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa, and three of his daughters — Natalia, Bianca, and their newborn Capri.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn