Kobe Bryant, 41, with his 13 years old daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, has died in a helicopter crashed near Calabasas, California. Nine people have lost their lives in this crash on Sunday, January 26.
The authorities said that it would take several days to recover dead bodies. The cause of the crash is under investigation as Daryl Osby, the Los Angeles County fire chief, said that the crash site was difficult to access and that firefighters had to hike to the area.
Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, along with his wife and daughter, were also on board in the same helicopter. All sports universe, fans, celebrities, and politicians are in a big shock and mourning on the tragic death of the NBA superhero. People of all ages are outside the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, lightning candles to express their grief.
Bryant and Gianna were on their way to an academy where he coached her team. The academy was preparing for Mamba Cup Tournament Series for the children from third to eighth grades but now has canceled games after this accident.
Bryant was one of the greatest players of all time, also known by his nickname, Black Mamba. He was the fourth-highest points scorer in NBA history – the winner of the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) for the 2007-8 season, and the NBA finals MVP in both 2009 and 2010. In the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, he won the Gold Medal for men’s basketball USA. In 2018 Kobe won the Oscar for the best animated short movie “Dear Basketball,” which was based on his poem.
Bryant was born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and joined the NBA at the age of 17. He was a son of former NBA star Joe Bryant. Kobe Bryant finished his NBA career with 33,643 points in 2016 after various injuries.
Bryant married Vanessa in 2001. They blessed with four daughters; Natalia (2003), Gianna (2006), Bianka (2016), and Capri (2019). At the time of his death, Bryant was worth $600 million. He was the NBA’s second highest paid endorser with the current deals with Nike, Russell’s Spalding brand, Upper Deck, and Coca-Cola’s Sprite.
Tribute to Kobe Bryant
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, another LA Lakers legend, tweeted on this tragedy, “Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players. But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete.”
In memories of Bryant’s achievements, President Barack Obama tweeted, “Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act.” He expresses his grief, “To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.”
Michael Jordan, a winner of six NBA championships, wrote, “I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing. Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling.” He tributes his ‘little brother,’ “I loved Kobe – he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often and I will miss those conversations very much. He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply – and took great pride in his daughter’s love for the game of basketball. [My wife] Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organization, and basketball fans around the world”.
Featured image: AP/Jae C. Hong