LOS ANGELES – Former Los Angeles Superstar, Kobe Bryant, 41, and his thirteen-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria Bryant, were killed in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles this afternoon.
TMZ, who was first to report the story, stated that Kobe and *eight* other people including his daughter, known as “GiGi” had been on their away to basketball practice at Mamba Academy when the helicopter went down in Calabasas, California. A fire broke out and emergency personnel responded, but there were no survivors. All five people were killed.
Kobe has famously used a helicopter to travel for years — dating back to when he played for the Lakers. He was known for commuting from Newport Beach, CA to the STAPLES Center in DTLA in his Sikorsky S-76 chopper.
Kobe is survived by his wife of 19 years, Vannessa Bryant, and his three daughters, Natalia, Bianka and Capri who was born in June 2019.
Bryant often spoke about his daughter Gigi and her basketball aspirations, saying that she would be the one to carry on his basketball legacy. Bryant was the coach of Gigi’s middle coach basketball team. She had made it clear that her goal was to play in the WNBA. He affectionally referred to her as “Mambacita” derived from his nickname, “Mamba”.
Kobe is widely considered one of the greatest NBA players of all time, making 18 All-Star teams during his 20-year career with the Lakers. He was a first-round pick in the 1996 draft, winning 5 NBA championships, 2 NBA Finals MVPs and he was the league MVP in 2008. At age 34, Kobe became the youngest player in NBA history to surpass the 30,000 point mark.
He was on 15 All-NBA Teams, 12 All-Defensive Teams and led the league in scoring for two seasons. He ranks fourth in the NBA for all-time regular season scoring and all-time postseason scoring. He also repped USA in a number of Olympics appearances.
After the last game of his career in 2016, the Lakers famously retired both of Kobe’s jerseys, number 8 and 24, the only player in team history to receive that honor.
Kobe’s accomplishments stand far outside of the basketball world. He won an Oscar for his short film, “Dear Basketball,” in 2018.
Just last night, LeBron James passed Kobe as third on the all-time NBA scoring list. Kobe’s last social media posts on Instagram and Twitter paid tribute to Lebron. “Keep growing the game and charting the path for the next”, he said.
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020