Kobe Bryant's NBA legacy, John Bolton's new book and the Grammy Award winners: The Morning Rundown

‘This one hurt’: NBA stars and fans around the world mourn Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash Sunday.
Image: Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant jumps for a rebound against the Denver Nuggets during Game 2 of their NBA Western Conference final basketball playoff game in Los Angeles
Kobe Bryant is being remembered as basketball legend, both on and off the court. Lucy Nicholson / Reuters file

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

NBA icon Kobe Bryant's unexpected death shocks fans, a new book by former national security adviser John Bolton could upend the president's impeachment defense, and the Grammy Awards honor legends past and present.

Here's what we're watching this Monday morning.


Kobe Bryant, a basketball giant known for his scoring prowess, dies at 41

Bryant, who won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, died Sunday in a helicopter crash in the Los Angeles area.

Bryant's 13-year-old daughter and seven other people were also killed when the helicopter crashed near Calabasas, Calif.

Bryant is being remembered as a Lakers' legend who soared as one of the greatest basketball players of his generation.

He was one of the NBA's most prolific scorers, playing his entire 20-year career with the Lakers after he entered the league straight out of high school in 1996.

Bryant's sudden death sent shock waves across the sports world and beyond, blindsiding current and former NBA players who were confronted with the enormous and unexpected loss of a titan of the sport.

Thousands of fans flocked to the Staples Center on Sunday to mourn his death.

From signing with the Lakers at 17 years old to the team retiring his two numbers more than 20 years later, see Bryant's storied career in pictures.

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Democrats demand Bolton testify after report his book says Trump tied Ukraine aid to Biden probe

Democrats stepped up their calls Sunday night for former national security adviser John Bolton to testify at President Donald Trump's impeachment trial after an explosive report alleged that in Bolton's unpublished book, he said Trump personally tied aid for Ukraine to an investigation of the Bidens.

That account directly conflicts with the president's version of events and undercuts his impeachment defense.

According to the manuscript, as reported by The New York Times on Sunday night, Trump told Bolton that nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine would not be released until it offered assistance with investigations of Democratic targets, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Democrats said Sunday that the new report highlighted the urgency of a Senate request for Bolton's testimony — a move that would require several GOP votes.

Trump's lawyers began their case in his defense Saturday, charging Democrats were the ones who are trying to interfere in the 2020 election and accusing lead House manager Adam Schiff of being dishonest.

The trial will resume today at 1 p.m. ET. Watch live coverage on NBC and MSNBC and follow our live blog for updates and analysis.

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Breakout sensation Billie Eilish sweeps top awards at Grammys marked by tributes

Although the Grammys are typically a vibrant celebration of the most talented artists in the industry, this year's show took on a more somber tone as musicians honored Bryant and his daughter in an emotional tribute.

"Earlier today, Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero," singer Alicia Keys, host of the Grammy Awards, said at the start of the show. (Video)

Despite the serious mood, there was cause for celebration.

Newcomer Billie Eilish won the Grammy for best new artist, as well as three other awards for best song, best pop vocal album and album of the year.

Here are the most memorable moments from the show.

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Plus

  • The China coronavirus death toll climbed to 80 Monday as the government scrambles to contain the outbreak.
  • Mike Bloomberg addressed anti-Semitic violence and threw shade at both Sen. Bernie Sanders and Trump in a speech about his Jewish faith.
  • Tennis phenom Coco Gauff was knocked out of the Australian Open by fellow American Sophia Kenin.
  • Not so fast: Steve Mnuchin's wife, Louise Linton, deleted a post in favor of climate activist Greta Thunberg.
  • "Saturday Night Live" took on the impeachment trial and went to hell, literally.

THINK about it

Trump's impeachment trial has a lot to do with his inability to fire Marie Yovanovitch, author Suzanne Garment writes in an opinion piece.


Shopping

How to use mesh Wi-Fi or range extension to broaden your Wi-Fi network and eliminate dead spots.


Quote of the day

"Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act."

Former President Barack Obama sending his condolences to the Bryant family.


'Never again'

When more than 200 survivors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp gather today to mark 75 years since its liberation, many will do so for the last time.

Elderly survivors from the United States, Israel, Australia, South America, Russia, Slovenia and elsewhere will be among presidents, prime ministers and royalty from across the globe at the ceremony in southern Poland.

Some remaining survivors say it's time for the next generation to take on their struggle.

Sonia Klein, who was a teenager when she arrived at the Nazis’ notorious death camp in the spring of 1943, said the most important way to honor its liberation was to ensure that as many people as possible know what happened there.

"Young people are the ones that have to carry the memory of our loved ones forever," Klein, 94, said.


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Thanks, Petra