NBA

Kobe Bryant dead: Lakers great wanted to die young and be immortalised – Hall of Famer McGrady

By Sports Desk January 27, 2020

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.

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