Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash last month. | PAUL BUCK -EFE

... was Kobe Bryant. Truly global sporting superstars are nowadays easier to create because of communications media. Some decades ago, their numbers were far fewer - Muhammad Ali and Pelé were a couple.

But while global fame can be acquired at the instant of an internet intervention, there are those genuine superstars who still rise above the rest. Kobe Bryant was one of them.

His career had been threatened by the sexual assault case, but he overcame this in becoming not just one of the all-time greats of basketball but of world sport. The shock at his death was enormous; the tributes have likewise been enormous.