Jerry West revealed Kobe Bryant had made a commitment to the Los Angeles Clippers during his glittering NBA career with the Lakers.

An all-time NBA great, Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

Bryant won five championships and was the 2008 MVP during a 20-year career with the Lakers which ended in 2016.

West, the former Lakers general manager, head coach and player, said Bryant had committed to making a shock move to the Clippers.

"I remember when he was going to leave the Lakers and I've never really mentioned this to anyone," he told NBA on TNT on Tuesday.

"He was going to come and sign with the Clippers, who I'm not involved with as a consultant. And I told him, 'Kobe, under no circumstances can you do this'.

"And he was mad at everyone at the Lakers, the owner, everyone else. I said, 'Kobe, you can't go play with the Clippers, you can't play for that owner [Donald Sterling], period'.

"We had two conversations about it and he had supposedly made a commitment to the Clippers … there's so many things that we talked about as he was just seeking information.

"His parents were with him for a while and honestly I felt like his father for two years. I don't know if I can get over this."

Bryant's former team-mate, Shaquille O'Neal, was still reeling from his friend's death, saying it would be difficult to overcome.

"The fact that we lost probably the world's greatest Laker, the world's greatest basketball player, is just, listen, people are going to say take your time and get better, but this is going to be hard for me," he told NBA on TNT.

"I already don't sleep anyway, but I'll figure it out."

O'Neal added: "I never could have imagined nothing like this. I was thinking the other day I've never seen anything like this.

"All the basketball idols that I grew up [watching], I see them. They're old."

Kobe Bryant's body has been identified following the helicopter crash that killed the Los Angeles Lakers great, his daughter and seven others on Sunday.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine killed after the crash in Calabasas, California.

The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed on Tuesday that Bryant's one of four bodies identified.

"Through the use of fingerprints, investigators identified three men and one woman who were on the aircraft," a brief statement read.

John Altobelli, Sarah Chester and Ara Zobayan were the other bodies identified by officials.

"Investigators are still working on identifying the five remaining decedents," the statement continued.

"The Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner will provide immediate updates on the names of the decedents as soon as they are officially verified and their next of kin have been notified."

An 18-time NBA All-Star and five-time championship winner, Bryant has been honoured across the world in the wake of his sudden death.

Kevin Durant feels nothing will ever be big enough to honour Kobe Bryant and his impact on basketball and the wider world.

Los Angeles Lakers legend Bryant was killed, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday. 

Tributes have poured in for the five-time NBA champion, who won the league MVP in 2008 and was named Finals MVP on two occasions in a glittering career that featured 18 All-Star berths.

NBA teams across the league have taken eight and 24-second violations – Bryant wore each of those numbers during his career – as a mark of respect. 

In Minnesota's game with the Sacramento Kings on Monday, Timberwolves star Andrew Wiggins placed the ball at the spot in the Target Center where Bryant surpassed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list.

However, Brooklyn Nets forward Durant, MVP in 2014 with the Oklahoma City Thunder and a two-time Finals MVP with the Golden State Warriors, is unsure any gesture can do justice to Bryant.

He told reporters: "It's so hard to say right now [how to honour Bryant]. Just every basketball player go out and play as hard as they can to honour Kobe, I think that'd do.

"I tried to think about what I would say, what I would write, nothing was big enough and that's what I feel about everything when it comes to Kobe Bryant, his mark he left on the Earth.

"It feels like nothing will ever be big enough to truly honour Kobe Bryant but how we approach every day life, me as a disciple of Kobe who study him, learn from him, I think it's my justice to go out there and try to be the best I can be every single day, not just in basketball, in everything.

"I feel like everyone who loved Kobe is going to take that approach in their lives."

Durant's team-mate Spencer Dinwiddie and the Orlando Magic's Terrence Ross elected to stop wearing the number eight as a mark of respect for Bryant.

The Dallas Mavericks announced on Sunday that they will retire the number 24 jersey in Bryant's honour.

Los Angeles Lakers fan and famous actor Jack Nicholson said "it kills you" as he remembered Kobe Bryant after his tragic death.

Lakers great Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

A man synonymous with the Lakers, Oscar Award-winning actor Nicholson has long been a regular courtside at Staples Center, watching Bryant up close and personal during his 20-year career in Los Angeles.

Reacting to the death of five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP Bryant, Nicholson told KCBS: "My reaction is the same as almost all of L.A. You just suddenly, where everything was solid, there's a big hole in the wall.

"I was just so used to seeing and talking to Kobe. It kills you. It's just a terrible event."

"We'll think of him all the time, and we'll miss him," Nicholson continued. "He was just one of those touched people… I sat right behind his jump shot on the left-hand side. I can see him going up, and I can tell the first instant if it was in."

Nicholson, 82, added: "I remember in totality just how great a player he was. But you know, I teased him the first time we met. It was in [Madison Square] Garden in New York, and I offered him a basketball and asked him, did he want me to autograph it for him? He looked at me like I was crazy."

Meanwhile, iconic New York City building – the Empire State Building – lit up in purple and gold in tribute to the 18-time All-Star on Monday.

"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," the official Twitter account tweeted.

LeBron James promised to continue Kobe Bryant's legacy as the heartbroken superstar reacted to the Los Angeles Lakers legend's tragic death.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Tuesday's showdown between city rivals the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center has been postponed, with James and the storied franchise still reeling from the news.

James, who surpassed five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP Bryant for third on the all-time points list on Saturday, issued his first public comments via social media on Monday.

In an Instagram post, James – a team-mate of Bryant's as the United States won gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games – wrote: "I'm Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had!

"I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn't think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we'd have. WTF!! I'm heartbroken and devastated my brother!!. Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I'll continue your legacy man!

"You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation and it's my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me!

"I got US here! There's so much more I want to say but just can't right now because I can't get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Life #Gigi4Life"

A petition attempting to immortalise Kobe Bryant as the new NBA logo has more than one million signatures after the Los Angeles Lakers legend died in a helicopter crash.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Regarded as one of the all-time greats, Bryant won five NBA championships and two Olympic Games gold medals with the United States, while he was crowned the 2008 MVP.

As the world continues to mourn the passing of the 18-time All-Star, a petition is calling for Bryant's image to be on the NBA logo in honour of the superstar.

The petition says, "with the untimely and unexpected passing of the great Kobe Bryant please sign this petition in an attempt to immortalise him forever as the new NBA logo".

Bryant spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, where he retired following a memorable 60-point performance in 2016.

After entering the league in 1996, Bryant scored 33,643 points – fourth on the all-time list having been surpassed by LeBron James on Saturday – in 1,346 games.

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant wanted to die young and be immortalised, according to Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

A five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP, Bryant was good friends with seven-time All-Star McGrady – who played for the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs.

McGrady broke down in tears as he remembered Bryant – a two-time Finals MVP – on Monday.

"I'm devastated, just like everybody else. I know this sounds crazy, but he spoke this, he used to say all the time 'I wanna die young, I wanna be immortalised and have my career be better than Michael Jordan and I want to die young'," McGrady told ESPN.

"And I just thought he was so crazy for saying that. And when I got the news yesterday I just could not believe it."

McGrady added: "Clearly that statement was way before kids. I'm sure once he had kids, he didn't have that mindset."

Bryant spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, where he retired following a memorable 60-point performance in 2016.

After entering the league in 1996, Bryant scored 33,643 points – fourth on the all-time list having been surpassed by LeBron James on Saturday – in 1,346 games.

The Los Angeles Lakers said it is a "very difficult time for all of us" as the NBA franchise expressed their gratitude for the outpouring of support following the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.

Lakers great Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Tuesday's NBA showdown between city rivals the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center has been postponed as the world mourns the death of the five-time champion and 2008 MVP.

The Lakers released their first statement on Monday since the tragedy and it read: "In consultation with the NBA League office, the game scheduled between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers for Tuesday, January 28 will be postponed and scheduled for a future date.

"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."

Bryant, who entered the league with the Lakers in 1996, is regarded as one of the all-time greats following a career spanning 20 years in Los Angeles before retiring in 2016.

An 18-time All-Star and two-time Finals MVP, Bryant won a pair of Olympic gold medals, helping United States to glory in 2008 and 2012.

The NBA showdown between city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers has been postponed after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.

Lakers legend Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Sunday and Monday's games have gone ahead as tributes continue to pour in for the five-time champion and 2008 MVP, who spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers.

However, Tuesday's blockbuster clash at Staples Center will be rescheduled at a later date, with Los Angeles reeling following Bryant's sudden death.

"The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organisation, 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," the NBA said in a statement.

Bryant, who entered the league with the Lakers in 1996, is regarded as one of the all-time greats following a career spanning two decades at Staples Center.

An 18-time All-Star and two-time Finals MVP, Bryant won a pair of Olympic gold medals, helping United States to glory in 2008 and 2012.

LeBron James and the Lakers (36-10) top the Western Conference, ahead of the Utah Jazz and Kawhi Leonard's third-placed Clippers (33-14).

Nick Kyrgios mourned the loss of Kobe Bryant but said the NBA legend's achievements were an inspiration to him during his Australian Open clash with Rafael Nadal.

Home hope Kyrgios walked onto the court wearing a Los Angeles Lakers jersey adorned with the number eight Bryant made famous at the start of his two-decade career with the franchise. 

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

Taking to Rod Laver Arena the following day, an emotional Kyrgios succumbed to a 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) loss against the world number one, but revealed Bryant's passing had been on his mind.

"I never met Kobe but basketball is practically my life. I watch it every day. I've been following it for as long as I can remember," said Kyrgios.

"When I woke up to the news, it was pretty emotional. It was pretty heavy, like, all day. Obviously I was having basketball on at my house, watching the games. It was heavy. It's just tough. It's horrible news.

"If you look at the things he stood for, what he wanted to be remembered by, I felt like, if anything, it helped me tonight. When I was down a break in the fourth, I was definitely thinking about it. I fought back."

Kyrgios is a fan of the Boston Celtics, a side who were often on the receiving end of Bryant's brilliance, but the 24-year-old had long admired the five-time NBA champion's skill and dedication to his craft.

"I'm a Celtic fan. When I saw Kobe do what he does, break the hearts of so many Celtics fans, it was tough to see," he said.

"I don't think they make them like him anymore. He was different, the way he trained, the way he did things, the way he played. He was special."

Nick Kyrgios paid tribute to Kobe Bryant before his Australian Open fourth-round clash with Rafael Nadal on Monday.

The Australian, a huge basketball fan, wore a Los Angeles Lakers jersey with the number eight Bryant made famous to begin his career.

A visibly emotional Kyrgios received a fine ovation as he entered Rod Laver Arena in the jersey.

Lakers great Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

The sporting world celebrated and mourned Bryant after his shock death.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were among the football stars paying their respects, while the NBA world mourned Bryant's passing.

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Byrant died suddenly in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash, with seven other reported casualties.

Tributes for five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP Bryant have poured in across all sports.

After Bryant's shock passing, we look back at his memorable farewell appearance against the Utah Jazz on April 13, 2016, which capped a glittering 20-year career.

 

60 - Bryant's final point total. No player in the NBA scored as many as the Lakers guard did in one game throughout that season.

50 - The amount of shooting attempts by Bryant, who eclipsed Michael Jordan's record of 49 shots against the Orlando Magic in 1993. Bryant took 15 more shots than the rest of his team-mates combined.

16 - Unassisted points recorded. Bryant took control in his Hollywood goodbye - his final seven baskets coming without an assist.

18 - Contested shots made. Bryant nailed 18 of 40 shots with a defender within 3.5 feet against the Jazz.

22 - Points scored by Bryant in the paint. Having great success with layups, he also finished six-of-21 from three-point range.

13 - Unanswered points posted in the final two minutes in LA. The Lakers trailed by 10 points with 2:36 remaining before Bryant sparked and completed the rally.

2 - Turnovers committed in a remarkable outing. Bryant took care of the ball, despite his record amount of shooting attempts.

4 - Assists tallied by 'the Black Mamba'. Jordan Clarkson was the main beneficiary as he received three dimes from Bryant.

0 - Shots made in the first six minutes of the game as nerves troubled Bryant in the opening exchanges. He missed his first five shots.

7 - It had been seven years since Bryant's previous 60-point game - the 18-time All-Star going off with 61 against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in 2009.

18,997 - Fans in attendance for Bryant's farewell at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Dirk Nowitzki paid a heartfelt tribute to his one-time NBA Finals rival Kobe Bryant following the Los Angeles Lakers legend's sudden death.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people killed when a helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

The five-time NBA champion spent 20 seasons with the Lakers, a record for longevity with a single team that stood until Nowitzki entered his 21st campaign with the Dallas Mavericks in 2018-19.

Nowitzki, now retired, memorably led Dallas to a series sweep of Bryant's Lakers in the 2011 playoffs, en route to the franchise's sole championship.

The Mavs announced they would retire the number 24 jersey Bryant wore during the second half of his career and their favourite son shared his sorrow in a social media post.

"This is hitting me really hard," Nowitzki wrote in a statement addressed to 'Mamba'.

"I will always remember coming home after games so I could watch you dominate the in the fourth quarter! You inspired so many around the world, including me.

"You will always be missed. You will always be remembered. You will always be loved. Rest in peace with your angel Gigi.

"Deepest sympathies to Vanessa, the girls and all the friends and families of the lives lost today!"

German forward and 2007 MVP Nowitzki was drafted two years after Bryant and the pair went on to play a combined 2,868 regular season games.

Kobe Bryant transcended the game of basketball after entering the NBA in 1996.

The Los Angeles Lakers legend provided highlight after highlight up until his retirement in 2016, with staggering point hauls.

Tragically, the five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Following his sudden passing, we look at Bryant's five greatest games with the Lakers, where he spent his entire 20-year career.

 

65 points - March 16, 2007 v Portland Trail Blazers

Against the Trail Blazers at Staples Center, Bryant came close to reaching the career-high 81 points he had recorded just over a year earlier. The superstar guard lit up the Blazers with 65 points as the Lakers won 116-111. Bryant shot 23-of-39, including 11-of-12 from the free-throw line, while he also made eight three-pointers.

Nate McMillan coached Portland that day and following Sunday's heartbreaking news, the-now Indiana Pacers coach told reporters: "I've seen it firsthand. He lit us up and I remember, he was shooting threes and just on fire, and we had him in a trap, deep corner, he had nowhere to go, should have passed the ball. He's facing his bench and he just turns and shoots it and it goes in. He really became like Michael [Jordan], in the sense that when you watched him play, could he do it again? Could he create that magic again in the fourth quarter? And he did."

61 points - February 2, 2009 v New York Knicks

Madison Square Garden hosted one of Bryant's greatest performances almost 11 years ago. At the world-famous arena in New York, 'the Black Mamba' posted 61 points - a venue record for a visiting player - against the Knicks, who lost 126-117 to the Lakers. On 19-of-31 shooting, Bryant finished with three assists and one block. He scored 34 points in the first half alone en route to the record, which was matched by Houston Rockets star James Harden in 2019.

"Tonight was one of the nights he kind of showed why he's going to go down in history," Lakers team-mate Lamar Odom said after the game.

62 points - December 20, 2005 v Dallas Mavericks

Three quarters were all that Kobe needed to embarrass the Mavericks. Bryant outscored Dallas 62-61 at the end of the third quarter in Los Angeles as the Lakers eased to a 112-90 victory. The Mavericks were one of the best teams that season, going on to reach the NBA Finals before succumbing to the Miami Heat. However, the Mavericks were schooled by the unstoppable Bryant, who shot 18-of-31 from the field and 22-of-25 from the free-throw line. He sat out the entire fourth quarter.

"It was just one of those nights," Bryant told reporters as he reflected on the game in 2016. "Yes [I could have scored 80 points that night]. It sounds funny to say, but yes, I could have."

60 points - April 13, 2016 v Utah Jazz 

Bryant farewelled basketball in the only way he knew how, with an exclamation mark. It was a true Hollywood goodbye as Bryant capped a career - spanning two decades - by scoring 60 final-game points in a 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. Bryant drained 23 points in the fourth quarter, posting his first 50-point game since February 2009. 

"It's hard to believe it happened this way," Bryant, who played 42 minutes and took attempted a career-high 50 shots, said. "I'm still shocked about it…. The perfect ending would have been a championship. But tonight was [me] trying to go out, play hard and try to put on a show as much as I possibly could. It felt good to be able to do that one last time."

81 points - January 22, 2006 v Toronto Raptors

The highlight of a stellar career and the night Bryant threatened to surpass Wilt Chamberlain. Kobe played 1,346 NBA games but he was well and truly in the zone against the Raptors, scoring 81 points - just 19 short of Chamberlain's legendary 100-point outing in 1962. Bryant produced 48 minutes of pure brilliance to lead the Lakers past the Raptors 122-104. It was a display of efficiency as Bryant's outburst featured a 60.9 shooting percentage from the field and 53.8 per cent from beyond the arc.

"Not even in my dreams," Bryant said. "That was something that just happened. It's tough to explain. It's just one of those things."

The Dallas Mavericks will retire the number 24 jersey in honour of Kobe Bryant after the Los Angeles Lakers great's sudden death. 

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died following a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed.

A five-time NBA champion with the Lakers, 2008 MVP Bryant is regarded as one of the all-time greats following 20 years in Los Angeles, where the 41-year-old has two jerseys retired at Staples Center.

The Mavericks - the Lakers' Western Conference rivals - paid the ultimate tribute to 18-time All-Star Bryant.

"We are shocked and saddened by the devastating news of the passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna," Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in a statement.

"Kobe was an ambassador for our game, a decorated legend and a global icon. Above all, he was a loving and dedicated father.

"Kobe's legacy transcends basketball, and our organisation has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick.

"Our hearts go out to all the lives lost and the families impacted by this terrible tragedy. We send our thoughts and prayers to Vanessa and the family, the Lakers organisation and Kobe Bryant fans everywhere."

Bryant and the Lakers enjoyed some memorable clashes with the Mavericks in the west.

The Mavericks claimed their only championship in 2011 after sweeping Bryant's Lakers in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Bryant averaged 23.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists for the Lakers in that series.

Page 1 of 15
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.