Kobe Bryant won the Slam Dunk Contest when the 1997 NBA All-Star Game was played in Cleveland (video)

Kobe Bryant during his rookie season
Kobe Bryant during his rookie season(Source: AP Images)
Published: Jan. 27, 2020 at 10:47 AM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The entire world is continuing to mourn the deaths of former Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven other people onboard a helicopter when it crashed Sunday in California.

Bryant’s career spanned 20 years and his accolades on and off the court are seemingly endless.

One of his first accomplishments came right here in Cleveland during his rookie season.

The then-18-year-old claimed the 1997 NBA All-Star Game Slam Dunk title in the contest held at the then-Gund Arena in downtown Cleveland.

Other contestants during the 1997 competition included Michael Finley, Ray Allen, and Cleveland’s Bob Sura.

Bryant also scored 31 points in the Rookie Challenge.

Despite poor visibility in Sunday’s crash, the helicopter flying Bryant to his daughter’s basketball practice was still cleared to be in the air.

Bryant retired in 2016 as the NBA’s No. 3 all-time leading scorer and held that position until now-Lakers star LeBron James passed him on Saturday.

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