Bulls

Former Lakers star Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash in California

Former Lakers star Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash in California

On Sunday Jan. 26, Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA.

TMZ Sports first reported the news. Shortly afterward, the Los Angeles County Sheriffs confirmed the crash. According to the LA County Sheriffs, there were no survivors:

NBC News and Yahoo Sports, among others, later confirmed the report that Bryant was among those that perished:

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has confirmed reports that Bryant's daughter, Gianna Bryant (Gigi), was on board the helicopter, as well:

In a press conference Sunday afternoon, the LA County Sheriffs said that nine were killed in the crash, including the pilot.

Here are statements from the NBAPA, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Michael Jordan in regards to the news:

In July 2003, Bryant was arrested after being accused of sexual assault by a hotel worker in Eagle, Colorado. Charges were dismissed in September 2004, and Bryant later settled a civil lawsuit issued by the accuser.

Bryant played 20 years in the NBA, all with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA championships, one league MVP, two Finals MVPs and appearing in 18 All-Star games. Bryant ended his career third on the NBA's all-time scoring list with 33,643 points. LeBron James usurped that mark last night, prompting Bryant's last tweet:

Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa, with whom he had four daughters. He was 41 years old. Gianna was 13.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated with details that emerged after initial publishing.

Report: NBA and ESPN planning a televised H-O-R-S-E competition

Report: NBA and ESPN planning a televised H-O-R-S-E competition

The NBA and ESPN are teaming up to plan a televised H-O-R-S-E competition among "several high-profile players," according to reporting by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

It's the latest in a line of creative ideas from the NBA and ESPN to fill the void left by the indefinite suspension of live sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Friday night, ESPN broadcast the first half of the first round of a players-only NBA 2K20 tournament, to run through April 11.

No details have emerged as it relates to a timeline of events, which players would participate or what the format of the H-O-R-S-E competition would be.

Players would trade trick shots virtually, according to Wojnarowski. Many NBA players undoubtedly have private home gyms or courts from which they could safely compete.

This isn't the first time the NBA has waded into the H-O-R-S-E waters. In 2009 and 2010, H-O-R-S-E was broadcast on TNT as a regular part of All-Star weekend festivities before being cancelled in 2011 (Kevin Durant won the competition both years). And understandably so. This matchup, between Durant and Rajon Rondo, devolved into a standstill 3-point contest narrated by a boisterous Charles Barkley:

That event was a reclamation of a 32-player H-O-R-S-E tournament the league broadcast on CBS during the 1977-78 season, which Paul Westphal won over Rick Barry. Barry made the finals as a replacement for an injured Pete Maravich, who absolutely trounced his way through the tourney. 

At least there was some creativity back then:

Of course, all of the league's past H-O-R-S-E experiments were held in person with fans in attendance. It remains to be seen how they'll look to spice up this iteration of the competition.

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Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan highlight decorated Hall of Fame class

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan highlight decorated Hall of Fame class

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced its official Class of 2020 on Saturday. And my word is it stacked:

Headlined by Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and the late Kobe Bryant, this is one of the most star-studded classes in history. Also set to be honored: 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings, three-time NCAA-champion coach Kim Mulkey, five-time Division II National Coach of the Year Barbara Stevens, four-time National Coach of the Year Eddie Sutton, two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich and longtime FIBA executive Patrick Baumann.

There are some Chicago ties in here, too. Garnett famously spent a year of his high school career at Farragut Career Academy on the West Side of Chicago, receiving McDonald's All-American and national player of the year honors in 1995. Catchings won an IHSA Division AA state title as a freshman and Ms. Illinois Basketball as a sophomore in a stint at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire before embarking on her illustrious college and WNBA career.

And Tomjanovich, of course, coached the Houston Rockets teams that won the only two non-Bulls titles from 1991-1998 — teams that current Bulls coach Jim Boylen served as an assistant with

As of this writing, the Class of 2020 is set to be officially enshrined in Springfield, Mass., on Aug. 29.

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