Former NBA star Kobe Bryant died yesterday at the age of 41. He and his 13-year-old daughter were among nine people who died in a helicopter crash in Southern California. Bryant played four years of basketball at Lower Merion High School, where his performance led him to the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. Fans of Bryant’s gathered yesterday at the school, whose gymnasium bears his name. People throughout the sports world, including Sixers star Joel Embiid, expressed sadness about Bryant’s death. And my colleagues who covered Bryant also wrote about their memories of him.

Kobe Bryant was one of nine people killed yesterday when his private helicopter crashed in Calabasas, Calif. The ex-Los Angeles Lakers star was 41. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, also died.

Bryant was born in 1978 between his father Joe Bryant’s third and fourth seasons playing with the 76ers. He spent much of his childhood in Europe when his father’s career moved overseas. The Bryants then settled in the Philadelphia area in Lower Merion.

A four-year starter with the Lower Merion Aces, Bryant set a Philadelphia-area scholastic scoring career record, and led Lower Merion High School to a Pennsylvania state championship and won the Naismith High School Player of the Year Award. He was then selected in the first round of the NBA draft. He spent two decades with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA titles, including the 2001 NBA Finals against the 76ers.

MORE ON KOBE BRYANT:

  • From sports columnist Mike Jensen: "There was always that love-hate local relationship. Kobe knew it himself. ... ‘I think if I put on a Sixer jersey it would be a little different story,' Bryant said ...’
  • "I pass [Lower Merion High School] all the time. I always think to myself, ‘Wow, Kobe went here. One of the greats of all time came here,’” said Romiere Brown, who grew up in Lansdowne. “When I heard the news, I was just in a state of shock.” Brown was one of many who flocked to the school yesterday to honor Bryant.
  • Sixers star Joel Embiid tweeted: “... I started playing ball because of KOBE after watching the 2010 finals. I had never watched ball before that and that finals was the turning point of my life. I WANTED TO BE LIKE KOBE. I’m so FREAKING SAD right now!!!!” My colleague Keith Pompey talked to Sixers head coach Brett Brown about what Bryant meant to him.
  • “Don’t try to make sense of Kobe Bryant’s death,” sports columnist Mike Sielski wrote. “Just remember his greatness, and hug your loved ones.”

Nelson Pérez will be the first Latino archbishop in Philadelphia. And he is taking over an archdiocese that has been bleeding parishioners for years. The Lawncrest congregation that got to know Pérez during his near seven-year stint at the Church of St. William say that he’s the right face for a changing population of Philadelphia Catholics that’s increasingly Hispanic.

“My ear picked up on the TV that there was a rumor that the monsignor was coming and I just thought, ‘Well, thank you, God!’” recalled a St. William parishioner of 58 years. “I wasn’t against any of the other leadership we had but I just think he’s younger, he’s going to have the energy.”

Close to 900 Philadelphians have collected farm subsidies that total more than $3.2 million in the last 25 years. And they’re not milking any cows or planting any crops.

My colleagues analyzed U.S. Department of Agriculture data and found that hundreds of people with addresses ranging from Center City to Chestnut Hill receive yearly checks. In many cases, that’s because of nothing more than their family connections to farms in other states.

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“He has an opportunity to help heal a community whose faith has been severely challenged. As Pope Francis’ visit in 2015 proved, the presence of a strong and thoughtful leader — one with a message of inclusiveness and compassion — can bring a community and a city together.” — writes The Inquirer Editorial Board about new Archbishop Nelson Pérez.

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The fires raging in Australia have destroyed some of the habitats home to kangaroos, wombats, and other animals. The devastation has left many baby animals orphaned. The Handwork Studio in Narberth, Pa., is helping out. They offered two free classes that taught volunteers of all ages how to create comfort items for orphaned and injured animals.