Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the NBA and most prominent names in all of sports, died in a helicopter crash in California. Among the dead is also his daughter, Gianna. Here’s everything you need to know…
Rest In Peace Kobe Bryant
In news that shocked the entire world, basketball legend Kobe Bryant died in a horrific helicopter crash in the early morning of Sunday, January 26, in the hills of Calabasas, California. In the plane crash, eight others died; among those are Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. Bryant leaves behind his wife, Vanessa, daughters Natalia and newborn Capri, parents Joe and Pam, and sisters Sharia and Shaya.
The tragic crash also took the lives of John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, and daughter Alyssa Altobelli; Christina Mauser; Ara Zobayan, the pilot; Sarah Chester and her daughter, Payton. Everyone on the helicopter was on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, where Gianna, Alyssa, and Payton were supposed to participate in a basketball game. The cause of the crash is being investigated.
One of the Greats
Bryant was undoubtedly one of the greatest players in NBA history, often considered the successor of Michael Jordan. Over his career, he earned five NBA championships, the MVP title, two gold medals at the Olympics, and many more accolades. An entire generation grew up watching Bryant play and rise to stardom; his rare abilities and talent gave hope to millions. As one mourning tweet said, “I used to play basketball in the little basketball court in my childhood neighborhood all the time. I wasn’t good at all – but in my mind, I was Kobe Bryant, and I could reach the stars.”
However, Kobe Bryant was much more than a fantastic basketball player. After his retirement from the game, Bryant had started to expand his business empire and use his money to give back. He released an autobiography in 2018, helped start BodyWater, released an Oscar-winning short film on basketball, and founded the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, which helps young homeless people. However, above all, Bryant loved being a father. “He cared much more about being a husband to Vanessa and a dad to his girls,” former Yankees player Derek Jeter wrote. “He loved his family — he was his family. That’s what was important.”
Ever since his tragic passing, many around the world have poured in tributes to Kobe Bryant. The Lakers, Bryant’s former team, postponed Tuesday’s (January 28) game, the first time since the Boston Marathon bombing. Meanwhile, close friends, former colleagues, celebrities, and more mourned the legend’s death. “Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act,” tweeted President Obama. Former teammate Shaqueil O’Neil wrote, “I love you and you will be missed. My condolences go out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. I’m sick right now.”
Ever since the accident, fans have been trying to get close to the crash site and pay tribute. However, this heavily disrupts the police’s work. Now the police announced they will consider it a “misdemeanor” if anyone tries to access the area. So, some fans have remained at Lakers’ Stadium non-stop with flowers, candles, and memorabilia, as well as wearing his Lakers jersey. On the other end of the country, the Empire State Building lit up purple and yellow, the Lakers’ colors.
However, perhaps the most touching and heartbreaking tribute came via fellow basketball legend LeBron James. “I’m Not Ready but here I go,” he began on Instagram. “Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have. WTF!! I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!! 😢😢😢😢💔. Man I love you big bro.”