Bryant was traveling in a private helicopter with her daughter ” Gianna” and 7 others when it crashed and burst into flames in the city of California.
During his incredible basketball career, Bryant adopted the nickname ‘Black Mamba’, which he revealed in an interview in 2014 that he got the idea for the nickname after watching Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill.
In the Hollywood movie, Black Mamba was used as a code name for a deadly assassin – known for its agility and aggressiveness.
“I read up on the animal and said, ‘Wow, this is pretty awesome”, Bryant recalled.
“This is a perfect description of how I would want my game to be.”
Bryant first adopted the nickname when in 2003 he was accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman.
The case was later dropped after his accuser failed to turn up in court.
He faced criticism after the allegations from fans both on and off the basketball court – and admits he had to separate his personal and professional life.
In documentary Muse, he said: “I went from a person who was at the top of his game, had everything coming, to a year later, having absolutely no idea where life is going.
“I had to separate myself. It felt like there were so many things coming at once. It was just very, very confusing. I had to organize things. So I created The Black Mamba.”
Bryant insisted Kobe was tasked with dealing with his personal matters while Black Mamba dealt with on-court business.
Fellow NBA star Brian Scalabrine later adopted the nickname White Mamba, a play on Bryant’s famous tag.