Wikipedia has been loading ridiculously slowly over the last half hour.
Now I know why.
NBA great Kobe Bryant, who led the Lakers to five NBA championships and finished his career third on the league’s all-time scoring list in 20 seasons with the franchise, perished with four others in a helicopter crash at approximately 1000 Pacific (1200 Central) in western Los Angeles County.
When a famous person passes away, tens of thousands of Wikipedia users attempt to outdo one another by updating the deceased’s bio. The administrators should lock everyone out and be the only ones to edit Kobe’s bio, because there will certainly be vandalism.
I don’t remember Wikipedia going down like this when former President George H.W. Bush died in late 2018. Gerald Ford’s death in December 2006 was too late at night to make much of an impact, and Wikipedia was in its infancy when Ronald Reagan died in June 2004.
Bryant was pushed to fourth on the NBA career scoring list last night when LeBron passed him during the Lakers’ loss in Philadelphia, Kobe’s hometown. Kobe’s father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, played with Julius Erving for the 76ers on the 1977 team which lost to Bill Walton’s Trail Blazers in the NBA World Championship Series (as it was officially known prior to 1986).
I haven’t watched the NBA much since the late 1980s, and I didn’t drop everything to watch Kobe, no matter the situation. I was about to in 2001 when the Bucks were within one win of the NBA Finals, but Allen Iverson and the 76ers won the Eastern Conference, and I went about my businesss without watching the Lakers win in five.
Kobe has two numbers (8 and 24) hanging from the rafters at Staples Center, but I don’t know if he would be in the starting lineup of the five greatest Lakers. Magic, Kareem, Jerry West, George Mikan and Elgin Baylor would be the starting five, with Kobe, Chamberlain, Shaq and James Worthy on the bench.
The Lakers’ next home game is Tuesday…against the Clippers. The media coverage may be the greatest for any regular season game since Kareem broke Chamberlain’s career scoring record in 1984.
It hasn’t been a good start to 2020 for the NBA. Longtime Commissioner David Stern passed away on New Year’s Day, and the most transcendent player of the past 25 years is gone at 41.
The NFL Pro Bowl is going on right now in Orlando. Any player who does not get asked for his thoughts about Kobe should pinch himself to make sure he’s alive. And the over/under for questions about Kobe for 49ers and Chiefs players and coaches tomorrow night for the Super Bowl’s “Opening Night” is 140.