Basketball Legend Kobe Bryant Dies In Helicopter Crash With His Teenage Daughter

Basketball Legend Kobe Bryant Dies In Helicopter Crash With His Teenage Daughter

The 41 year old retired N.B.A. star and his daughter Gianna were among nine people in a helicopter that crashed in Calabasas, California, USA.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says nine people died in the helicopter crash that caused the death of Kobe Bryant. The retired Los Angeles Lakers star, 41, and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.  Bryant was one of the passengers traveling on board the helicopter.

The authorities declined to identify the victims pending identification and notification of their family members. The National Transportation Safety Board said it sent a team to California on Sunday evening.

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Daryl Osby, the Los Angeles County fire chief, said the crash site was difficult to access; and that firefighters had to hike to the area. It was not immediately clear how many passengers the helicopter was approved to transport; fire officials were unsure whether the helicopter was overloaded. They declined to specify the helicopter’s destination.

The N.B.A. confirmed Bryant’s and Gianna’s deaths to all teams and league employees on Sunday afternoon. This is according to two people familiar with the document.

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Drafted to the N.B.A. directly out of high school in 1996, Bryant was an All-Star in 18 of his 20 seasons for the Lakers. He helped lead the team to five championships. His hyper competitive nature led to occasional public disagreements with coaches and other players; but nobody ever questioned his commitment to winning.

Bryant won the N.B.A.’s Most Valuable Player Award for the 2007-8 season; and the N.B.A. finals M.V.P. in both 2009 and 2010. He showed a rare commitment to success on both ends of the court. His résumé included two scoring titles — and an 81-point game in 2006 that is the second-highest single-game total in N.B.A. history; along with 12 appearances on the league’s All-Defense team. He also thrived on the international stage, where he won gold medals for U.S.A. Basketball in the 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. Kobe went on to score 60 points in his final game while leading the last-place Lakers to a surprising win over the Utah Jazz.

In retirement, Bryant became a champion for women’s sports and expanded his purview. He won an Academy Award in 2018 for his animated short film “Dear Basketball;” while also creating the web series “Detail” for ESPN in which he analyzed current players. He was scheduled to headline the 2020 N.B.A. Hall of Fame nominees.

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N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver was certain to note how Bryant had taught Gianna, his daughter who also died in the crash. Silver said the longtime star was “generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players; taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.”

Following in her father’s footsteps, Gianna, affectionately known as “GiGi” was a rising basketball star. And Bryant coached his daughter’s middle school basketball team. People magazine reports that at the time of the crash, the two were on their way to her school, the Mamba Academy near Thousand Oaks, California, for basketball practice.

During his time playing for the Lakers and post-retirement, Bryant’s wife of 19 years, Vanessa Bryant, and daughters regularly joined him on the court. Bryant recently revealed that his daughter’s passion for the game is what brought him back to watching NBA and he very much enjoyed their time together courtside.

Kobe Bryant Death: The Very Inspirational Life Of The Black Mamba, A Great Dad

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Throughout his 20-year-old storied career, Bryant won five NBA championships. His records are countless on the court, but since he retired in 2016, Kobe also made a name for himself. Here's a list of some of his non-basketball achievements:

  • He penned a children's book titled The Wizenard Series. Kobe Bryant created the book, but Wesley King wrote it. It tells the story of the Fairwood Community Center basketball team; a ragtag group of players who need a coach to help them reach their full potential. The book series further points to the legend's obvious love for kids.
  • He was the first professional athlete to win an Oscar for his film, Dear Basketball. It took home the trophy for Best Animated Short.
  • Kobe also shot a web series for ESPN titled Detail. There, he talked about sports stars and examined their careers.
  • He set up and co-owned the Mamba Sports Academy, where he coached children to play basketball the Mamba way. His daughter Gigi also played basketball at the Academy. The accident which claimed their lives took place on their way to a planned basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy.

There's no doubt that the world has not only lost a legendary sportsman but a great father as well. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bryant family.

New York Times

Also read: Africa's Foremost Evangelist. Reinhard Bonnke Dies At 79

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