US basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna are among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in the city of Calabasas, California.
Kobe Bryant, 41, was traveling in a private helicopter with his daughter when it came down and burst into flames. The LA county sheriff said no one survived the crash. Bryant was a five-time NBA champion and played for LA Lakers throughout his entire career. He is among the greatest players in basketball history. Twitter and social media posts are pouring with tributes from fans, celebrities and fellow sports stars, expressing shock at the tragedy. Millions of people observed moments of silence throughout the US and worldwide at sporting events and others.
Bryant was among 8 others traveling onboard the helicopter including his daughter Gianna. All nine people in the crash died, including the pilot according to Alex Villanueva, the LA County sheriff, during a news conference. The crash site was difficult to access due to the terrain, said the LA fire chief, Daryl Osby. The firefighters had to hike to the area.
Bryant and his daughter were on their way to an academy where he coached her team.
Bryant was on his way to the academy to coach his daughter’s team when the incident took place, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge details of the ongoing investigations. The academy was going to host the Mamba Cup Tournament Series. This was a series of tournaments for boys’ and girls’ basketball teams from the third through eighth grades. The management canceled all the games after the news of Bryant’s death became public.
Reports say that it was not immediately clear how many passengers the helicopter was approved to transport. Fire officials said it was also not immediately clear whether the helicopter exceeded the maximum weight limit.
Bryant was considered one of the greatest in NBA history
Bryant made the NBA draft directly out of high school in 1996. He made the All-Stars in 18 of his 20 seasons for the LA Lakers. This led the team to five championships. Kobe had a hyper-competitive nature. He occasionally disagreed in public with coaches and other players. However, no one questioned his commitment to winning. He became the winner of the NBA Most Valuable Player for the 2007-8 season. Furthermore, he also became NBA finals MVP in 2009 and 2010. Moreover, his resume included two scoring titles and an 81-point game in 2006. As a result, this became the second-highest single-game total in NBA history.
Bryant also represented and thrived on the international stage, where he won gold medals for USA Basketball in 2008 and 2012 Olympics. In 2016, after various injuries had taken their toll on the longtime superstar, he proved to have one more highlight in him, scoring 60 points in his final game while leading the last-place Lakers to a surprising win over the Utah Jazz.