Kobe Bryant dies at 41

By Fernando Alfonso III, Amir Vera and Aimee Lewis, CNN

Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT) January 28, 2020
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3:27 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Mayor of Kobe, Japan, says Kobe Bryant has a "special place" in hearts of Kobe people

From CNN's Junko Ogura and Yoko Wakatsuki

Kobe Bryant greets junior basketball players in Tokyo in September 2006.
Kobe Bryant greets junior basketball players in Tokyo in September 2006. TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images

The Japanese city of Kobe, after which Kobe Bryant was named, paid tribute to the basketball star after his death on Sunday.

Kobe Mayor Kizo Hisamoto offered his condolences in a statement on Monday:

"Our city had the good fortune of crossing paths with Kobe Bryant as his father named him after the city, given his love of Kobe beef.
Due to this connection with our city, Bryant came to visit the Kobe government office in 1998 to make a donation for the charity. And between 2001 to 2011, he became the city’s ambassador and told the world about us. 
Kobe Bryant was an international superstar, who also held a special place for the people of Kobe city.
We would once again like to express our gratitude for the support Kobe Bryant gave to this city and offer our heartfelt condolences.”
2:59 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Kobe Bryant leaves behind a business empire that stretched beyond the basketball court

From CNN's Clare Duffy and Alexis Benveniste

Kobe Bryant in New York on October 4, 2011.
Kobe Bryant in New York on October 4, 2011. Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant's legacy extends beyond his time on the basketball court. He was also known to the business world as a brand-builder; an investor; and a coach to other athletes and company founders.

Here's a look back at his business empire:

  • Venture capital: In 2013, Bryant co-founded venture capital firm Bryant Stibel along with Web.com founder Jeff Stibel. It now has more than $2 billion in assets, with investments in dozens of technology, media and data companies.
  • Personal investments: Bryant also made millions of dollars on his investment in sports drink Body Armor.
  • Media: In 2016, Bryant founded Granity Studios, a media company that focuses on creative storytelling around sports. Through this company, he wrote and narrated an Academy Award-winning short film in 2018.
  • The Black Mamba brand: Bryant was known in basketball as "Black Mamba," and he launched a youth basketball league called the Mamba League to give hundreds of kids free access to the sport. Bryant also created the Mamba Sports Academy to provide athletic and lifestyle training at all levels in a number of sports.
  • Nike partnership: Bryant first signed a deal with Nike in 2003, helping the shoe company solidify its position in the basketball world. As Bryant's success on the court grew, so too did his Nike partnership.
  • Other brands: Bryant also had endorsement deals with a number of other brands throughout his career, including McDonald's (MCD), Sprite, Nintendo (NTDOF) and Turkish Airlines.

Read more here.

2:41 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Kobe Bryant on leadership, failure, and critics -- in his own words

From CNN's Dakin Andone and Alicia Lee

Kobe Bryant in the third quarter against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center in April 2016.
Kobe Bryant in the third quarter against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center in April 2016.

Over the years, Kobe Bryant inspired countless people, and not just athletes. His influence stretched far beyond sports, touching art, culture, business and his family.

And over the years he shared his own thoughts and wisdom on a wide range of subjects. Here's the late Kobe Bryant, in his own words.

On sacrifice:

"We all can be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice. What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that. Family time, hanging out with friends, being a great friend, being a great son, nephew, whatever the case may be. There are sacrifices that come along with making that decision."

On the cultural contributions of black athletes:

"(They've been) crucial. What we stand for, what America stands for, the cultural melting pot that is America, the diversity that is America, it's all about moving that culture forward. From Muhammad Ali to Bill Russell, that's what they've done, that's what they've pioneered and its our responsibility to try to carry it forward."

Gianna and Kobe Bryant at the WNBA All-Star Game in July 2019.
Gianna and Kobe Bryant at the WNBA All-Star Game in July 2019.

On raising his daughter, Gianna:

"The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans would come up to me and she'll be standing next to me and they'll be like, 'You've gotta have a boy ... You gotta have somebody to carry on your tradition, the legacy.' "She's like, 'Oy, I got this. Don't need no boy for that.' I'm like, that's right. Yes you do, you got this."

Read more of his words here.

2:25 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

In his last social media post, Kobe Bryant celebrated LeBron James

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

Kobe Bryant was a trailblazer -- on and off the court.

He finished his high school career as the highest scoring player in the history of southeastern Pennsylvania basketball. He became the youngest NBA player in history at age 17. Two years ago, he became the only athlete to ever win a basketball championship and an Academy Award.

But in his last social media posts before his death, Bryant wasn't celebrating another one of his achievements -- he was celebrating someone else.

Bryant congratulated Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James for passing him to become the third highest scorer in NBA history with 33,655 points.

"Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames," he tweeted. "Much respect my brother."

And on Instagram, Bryant rooted for James to climb even higher on that list.

"On to #2," he wrote. "Keep growing the game and charting the path for the next."

2:13 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Dallas Mavericks will retire Kobe Bryant's jersey number, owner says

NBA team Dallas Mavericks will retire the No. 24 jersey in honor of Kobe Bryant, who wore the jersey number while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.

"Kobe's legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick," said Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner, in a statement posted on Twitter.

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

After Bryant's retirement, the LA Lakers retired both jersey numbers 8 and 24, which Bryant had worn throughout his career.

1:05 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Los Angeles City Hall shines purple and gold

Los Angeles City Hall was lit in purple and gold beginning at 8:24 p.m. Sunday night, the city's Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted along with a photo. Garcetti said the building was lit in honor of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and the other victims of the helicopter crash.

12:50 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

NBA players discuss playing despite the news of Kobe Bryant's death

Despite the news of Kobe Bryant's death, eight NBA were games played Sunday.

Players on multiple teams discussed keeping focus and playing for Bryant.

Carmelo Anthony with the Portland Trail Blazers told reporters it was "probably the hardest game I ever had to play." The Trail Blazers played the Indiana Pacers Sunday.

Zion Williamson with the New Orleans Pelicans told reporters he was on his way to the arena when he got the news. "At first it was a little difficult, it was hard to focus." The Pelicans played the Boston Celtics Sunday.

Kawhi Leonard with the Los Angeles Clippers told reporters he knew Bryant would want him to play. The Clippers played the Orlando Magic Sunday.

12:31 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Atlanta sports landmarks honor Kobe Bryant

From CNN's Joe Ruiz

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium and The College Football Hall of Fame both shined purple and gold lights Sunday night in honor of Kobe Bryant.

12:23 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

NBA teams react to Kobe Bryant's death

Kobe Bryant poses with NBA Commissioner David Stern after being selected in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets.
Kobe Bryant poses with NBA Commissioner David Stern after being selected in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

As news of Kobe Bryant's death spread, teams across the NBA issued statements honoring his legacy:

The Philadelphia 76ers called him an "icon."

"Bryant’s journey to icon status in the world of basketball included deep ties to the Philadelphia region, where he starred at Lower Merion High School from 1992-96. As he honed his craft in Philadelphia, Bryant established a reputation as a player with once-in-a-lifetime poise, grit, heart and an unwavering love of the game," The 76ers said in a series of tweets.

The Charlotte Hornets also released a statement. Bryant was originally drafted in 1996 by Charlotte before being traded to the Lakers.

“Kobe’s toughness on the basketball court was second to none. He played through injuries and sickness, oftentimes defying doctors’ and ownership’s recommendations to not play, in an effort to never miss a game. Kobe was a once-in-a-generation player who will forever be remembered for his competitive nature and his will to win. They threw away the mold when Kobe Bryant was born. There will never be another like him," said General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

The Boston Celtics also released a statement. The Lakers and the Celtics have a storied rivalry.

"There are no words that can convey the heartbreak the entire Celtics organization feels in the wake of the terrible loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. Kobe was one of the greatest talents and competitors to ever play basketball, and his love of the sport inspired countless fans and players around the world. Our fans were fortunate to watch him as he contributed many memorable chapters to the Celtics-Lakers rivalry, which he treasured. We extend our deepest condolences to Kobe’s family, fans, and the entire Lakers organization, as well as all of the victims and families affected by this horrible tragedy."