RIP Kobe Bryant

NBA Legend Kobe Bryant dead at age 41

ESPN.com

It brings me great sadness to even type this, but NBA legend Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash. He was 41. Details are slowly trickling in, but the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office has confirmed Bryant was one of the passengers on board a helicopter that crashed near Calabasas, which is just northwest of Los Angeles. This news comes less than 24 hours after LeBron James passed Kobe for 3rd place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Kobe even tweeted out his props to LeBron shortly after it happened.

NBA Legend

Kobe played all 20 of his seasons for the Lakers. When he finished his career, he held several records, won five titles, was 4th on the all-time scoring list, won two gold medals, and firmly established himself in the G.O.A.T. talk. He defined a whole new generation's outlook on what a true legend in the game of basketball. He was the closest thing a new generation had to what my generation has in Michael Jordan. So many people hated him simply because he was so damn good and routinely ripped the hearts out of their teams. However, he was respected by teammates and opponents alike because of what he called "Mamba Mentality."

Off the court

Before he retired, Kobe started Granity Studios. It's a production company that he listed in his Twitter bio as being the CEO, writer, and producer for. He even won an Oscar for best animated short documentary for "Dear Basketball." Kobe was such a Jordan fan, he even went into several different business ventures. He started a venture capital company in 2016, was a noted philanthropist, and even made a rap album early on in his career. If you ask me, perhaps his most favorite off the court activity was coaching his daughter's AAU team. He seemed genuinely happy when doing so and always talked glowingly about his experiences in coaching.

Personal reflection

Growing up watching Michael Jordan from college to the NBA, I never thought I'd see anything remotely close. Then came Kobe. He walked, talked, shot, and would even stick his tongue out like Mike. I've ben in endless debates as to who's better. I always side with MJ since he has more hardware and did it with I would say is lesser talent. Kobe was the one guy that made me think if anyone could dare challenge MJ. His passing is hard to deal with as my kids are hurt that one of their heroes is gone. I have to check on my sister in law and some of my cousins. They were all in that generation I spoke of that would pick Kobe over MJ. It's hitting them hard as well. I know people who named their kids after him because they loved him so much! Kobe was the ultimate competitor who wanted to win at everything he attempted. It's almost fitting his last Tweet will be congratulating someone who looked up to him and passed him on the all-time scoring list. It showed his true love and respect for the game that gave him so much. We will always have the memories, but damn this is tough. #RIPMamba

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Houston drops the opener

Angels use big sixth inning to take opener from Astros

Houston's offense started hot, then went cold Monday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With a 2-1 series win under their belt to start this ten-game homestand, the Astros turned the page to a three-game set with the Angels on Monday night. Things started strong for Houston, building an early lead, but it would erode in the middle innings as the Angels would respond with a big sixth inning to take the opener.

Final Score: Angels 5, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 18-17, tied for second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Suarez (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (1-2)

Houston Builds an early lead

After a 1-2-3 top of the first by Luis Garcia, Houston would start the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back walks set things off, setting up an RBI ground-rule double by Alex Bregman, giving them the 1-0 lead. Kyle Tucker lead the bottom of the second off with a double, then came around to score on an RBI single by Myles Straw, then Michael Brantley made it 3-0 with an RBI double later in the inning.

Los Angeles roars back to take the lead

Los Angeles trimmed the lead to two runs in the top of the fourth with an RBI double, but Houston was able to get that run back on another RBI by Straw in the bottom of the fifth. Things fell apart for Garcia in the top of the sixth, with back-to-back one-out solo homers trimming the lead to one run and ending his night there: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 92 P.

The Angels didn't stop there, getting two more runs to take the lead off of Brandon Bielak, who managed just one out while blowing the lead. Brooks Raley would enter to get the final out of the inning, then tried to keep the deficit at one run when he returned in the top of the seventh. It looked like things might unravel for him, allowing the first two batters to reach base on a walk and single, but he would battle back to strike out the next three straight to strand both.

Angels take the opener

Joe Smith took over in the top of the eighth, still 5-4, but would get two outs while allowing a double in his three batters before Houston moved on to Kent Emanuel, who finished the inning off. After another scoreless inning for Houston's offense, Emanuel remained in the game in the top of the ninth to keep a walk-off chance alive, and he would do so by erasing a walk to send the one-run game to the bottom half. The Astros wouldn't pull off a comeback, though, dropping the opener to Los Angeles.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday night. It shapes up to be an exciting pitching matchup, with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.58 ERA) for Houston going up against the two-way star Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.41 ERA) for Los Angeles.

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