What we know about crash that killed NBA, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant

USA Today

Nine people died in a helicopter crash Sunday in Southern California, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The victims include basketball icon Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver confirmed the death of Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna in a statement Sunday.

“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” Silver said.

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning.  He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals.  But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.  He 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.

“We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world.”

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in an afternoon news conference the helicopter’s passenger manifest indicated nine people were on board. There were no survivors.

“It is entirely inappropriate right now to identify anyone by name,” Villanueva said.

Firefighters had to douse a quarter-acre brush fire, said fire Capt. Tony Imbrenda.

News of the tragedy shocked the basketball community in which Bryant had established himself as a legend and all-time great.

On Saturday night, the two-time NBA Finals MVP and two-time Olympic gold medalist congratulated LeBron James on passing him for third place on the all-time scoring list.

Hours later, he was gone.

Here’s what is known thus far about the death of Kobe Bryant.

Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash

Imbrenda, who spoke shortly after the crash, said an investigation had begun to determine its cause. He said the helicopter model was a Sikorsky S-76 and that a fire broke out upon impact in the hills of Calabasas, California — about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. A 9-1-1 call was received at 9:47 a.m. local time. Firefighters battled a quarter-acre brush fire.

Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board said they would investigate the crash.

Footage of the crash site showed overcast skies and the Weather Channel reported fog in the area near the time of the crash.

Authorities would not confirm the identities of any of the victims, saying the coroner’s office needs to conduct its investigation.

Gianna Bryant, 13, also tragically dies in crash

Bryant’s second-oldest daughter, Gianna, was also in the helicopter.

Gianna Bryant often went by “GiGi.”

Recently, a video of her sitting courtside at an NBA game next to her father made its rounds on social media.

Kobe, Gianna Bryant were going to AAU game

Gianna and Kobe Bryant were en route to an AAU basketball game Sunday morning when the helicopter crashed, according to one of the people who requested anonymity. ESPN reported another AAU player and parent were among those who died.

For the last two years, Bryant had helped coach his daughter’s team out of the Mamba Sports Academy training facility.

NBA plays games despite Kobe Bryant’s death

Despite intense emotions around the league, the NBA began playing its schedule Sunday. An outpouring of condolences for the Bryant family began.

Former teammate Shaquille O’Neal and president Barack Obama shared their sadness on Twitter. Soccer star Neymar paid tribute after a goal by holding up a “2” and a “4” with his fingers.

In the Raptors-Spurs games, Toronto dribbled out the first possession — 24 seconds — to honor No. 24, the jersey number Bryant wore for the second half of his career.

Kobe Bryant was no stranger to helicopter travel

During his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, it was common for Bryant to travel by helicopter from his Orange County, California, home to Lakers games at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. It helped him avoid two-hour travel times through L.A.’s notorious traffic while also keeping his body fresh.


14 thoughts on “What we know about crash that killed NBA, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant

    1. Thing is, when this much money is involved, it could have been anything…Sad to hear about Kobe’s daughter…

  1. SVFR
    Not a good plan , too low for flight following

    Conditions were not a go for Any VFR flight of any kind , low vis. And fog

    People thinking they are too important to miss things usually do it in big ways

    I’ve learned a lot about patience and not needing to get places when I learned to fly

    This is all on the pilot

      1. Yep. Nine people, all with big money, pilot was pressured to get it done, no doubt. Was probably over safe operating weight as well, weight and balance issues. Nine people, all with baggage no doubt. Full fuel, ugly.

  2. Nine people died. I thought he was flying himself and daughter because this is the first I’d heard about anybody but a basketball player and his kid being involved.
    The other seven victims are valuable too, probably moreso.

  3. Next up…Tom Brady? (Who is likely either gonna retire or finish his career not quite as he thought…) Because I am always suspicious when legendary athletes or entertainers die suddenly. As well as their loved ones. Whitney Houston also comes to mind.

    1. dang…I was watching it and thought I better download it before it disappears….and just like that …poof……aaaand it’s gone.
      I did see ‘assassination’ though

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