WASHINGTON — Few athletes gain so much respect that opposing fans celebrate their accomplishments, but this was the case when Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., came to Capitol One Arena (then-called Verizon Center) on Dec. 2, 2015.
The 41-year-old NBA icon, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were on the helicopter with seven others when they died in a crash. The cause of the crash has not yet been determined.
In Bryant's last game in Washington during his farewell tour in the 2015-16 season, fans brought signs, cheered on the soon-to-retire NBA legend's 31-point performance and gave him a standing ovation as he left the court.
The Wizard's even played a tribute displayed on the jumbotron to honor Bryant during a timeout.
Bryant also recorded three assists, one steal and went 4-11 from behind the three-point line.
The game was close when Bryant entered that last minute of the fourth quarter against the Wizards.
Down by one point, he hit a three-point shot to take the lead 101-99. Bryant would then follow up the shot with a step-back jumper to give the Lakers a 103-101 lead with 20 seconds left. L.A. would win 108-104.
Bryant had a variety of great moments in Washington while in his 20-season NBA career.
The L.A. Laker played his predecessor of basketball greatness and fellow NBA icon, Michael Jordan, four times when Jordan was with the Wizards.
At one point, Bryant wanting to follow in his role model's steps, thought about playing for the Washington Wizards, according to a report from The Washington Post.
Washington's professional athletes, including Bradley Beal, John Wall, Alex Ovechkin and Elena Della Donne took to social media to show their appreciation and sadness as news broke about Bryant's death.