Lest we forget: 2020’s dearly departed

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant smiles beside Toronto Raptors guard Jose Calderon (R) during a break in the second half of their NBA basketball game in Toronto December 19, 2010.
REUTERS/Mike Cassese

NBA legend Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash (23 Aug. 1978 – Jan. 26, 2020)

By Joe Pantorno

Bryant, 41, was reportedly traveling with eight others, including the pilot, in a private helicopter when it went down in Calabasas, CA at 1 p.m. ET. All nine were confirmed dead by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.  His family’s representation confirmed to TMZ that Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also on the helicopter and died.

It was common for Bryant to take a helicopter even during his playing days to beat the Los Angeles traffic.

Bryant is considered one of the greatest players in NBA history, ranking fourth all-time with 33,643 career points. He was passed on the list for third all-time by LeBron James — playing for Bryant’s Lakers — on Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Born in Philadelphia, Bryant moved to Italy as his father played professional basketball overseas. He returned to the United States to play at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, PA.

In 1996 he was promptly traded to the Lakers for Vlade Divac.

It became one of the greatest trades in Lakers history as Bryant became a transcendental superstar in Los Angeles. 

In 20 NBA seasons, Bryant made 18 All-Star Game appearances.

Actor Sean Connery awaits the start of the U.S. Open men’s final match between Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Britain’s Andy Murray in New York, September 10, 2012.REUTERS/Adam Hunger

Passing of a great Scot: legendary Sean Connery dies aged 90 (Sean Connery 25 Aug. 1930 – 31 Oct. 2020)

By Reuters

Scottish movie legend Sean Connery, who shot to international stardom as the suave, sexy and sophisticated British agent James Bond and went on to grace the silver screen for four decades, has died aged 90, the BBC and Sky News reported on Saturday.

Connery was raised in near poverty in the slums of Edinburgh and worked as a coffin polisher, milkman and lifeguard before his bodybuilding hobby helped launch an acting career that made him one of the world’s biggest stars.

“The world’s greatest Scot, the last of the real Hollywood stars, the definitive Bond,” said Alex Salmond, Scotland’s former first minister. “He was also a staunch patriot, a deep thinker and outstanding human being.”

Connery will be remembered first as British agent 007, the character created by novelist Ian Fleming and immortalized by Connery in films starting with “Dr. No” in 1962.

As Bond, his debonair manner and wry humor in foiling flamboyant villains and cavorting with beautiful women belied a darker, violent edge, and he crafted a depth of character that set the standard for those who followed him in the franchise. 

Alex Trebek, long-time host of Jeopardy! dead at 80 after cancer battle (July 22, 1940 – Nov 8, 2020)

Alex Trebek, host of the game show “Jeopardy” poses as he arrives at the 33rd annual Daytime Emmy Awards in Hollywood, California April 28, 2006. Trebek was nominated for outstanding game show host.REUTERS/Fred Prouser

By Reuters

Fans of the hit game show “Jeopardy!” are mourning the loss of its beloved, long-time host, Alex Trebek, who died Sunday morning at the age of 80 following a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.

Trebek died at his California home with family and friends by his side, according to a message on the game show’s Twitter account. He had been battling pancreatic cancer since his diagnosis in 2019.

The Canadian-born Trebek said in a YouTube video in March 2019 that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, vowing to beat the disease despite the long odds.

Trebek told fans in August 2019 he had completed chemotherapy, but he disclosed the following month that he had to restart treatment because of a setback.

He passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family and friends, the show’s tweet said.


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