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Kobe Bryant helped make soccer cool in the United States

Kobe Bryant’s shocking and untimely death Sunday in a helicopter accident that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others is a profound loss for his family, friends, millions of fans across the globe and, of course, for basketball.

As one of the NBA’s all-time greats, there’s no telling the influence Bryant, who was just 41, could’ve had on the game in the future. Coach? General manager? Team owner? All of that and more surely would’ve been available to Bryant down the line, if he wanted.

And if he wanted it, look out.