Celebrity Dirt

Two years later, it's hard to believe that Kobe Bryant is really gone.

It still seems surreal that 2 years later, we are even saying  “Kobe Bryant” and “death” in the same sentence. It’s hard to grasp that it’s now been two full years since a helicopter crash killed Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others.

The crash outside of Los Angeles was determined to be because of pilot error, primarily. According to the Associated Press, the National Transportation Safety Board said pilot Ara Zobayan “made a series of poor decisions that led him to fly blindly into a wall of clouds where he became so disoriented he thought he was climbing when the craft was plunging toward a Southern California hillside.”

Kobe Bryant was a larger-than-life basketball player, spending his career entirely with the Los Angeles Lakers (he was technically drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, but was traded on draft day to L.A.). And the Hollywood lifestyle played well for Bryant, as he became a 5-time NBA champion, an 18-time NBA All-Star, among a host of other career accomplishments placing him among the greatest players to ever play the game. Who among us hasn’t yelled “KOBE!” when throwing a crumpled piece of paper in a trash can?

Off the court, Bryant was instantly recognizable in commercials, TV shows, music and movies. He even won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball. He was not without controversy, as a 2003 sexual assault allegation hurt his reputation. The case was later dropped, and Bryant issued an apology to the victim.

Kobe Bryant was barely into his off-the-court career at the time of his death, but by all accounts was poised to be just as successful as he had been on the court. He had several business ventures already running, with many more in the works.

As we remember Kobe Bryant two years after his untimely death, we look at several of the tributes that continue to pour in for “Mamba.”