Kobe Bryant, 41, the legendary basketball superstar died in a helicopter crash while he was traveling. Kobe spent 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers. The helicopter crashed and burst into flames. TMZ first reported the news. Bryant was allegedly traveling in his own private helicopter when it crashed. Four other people were killed. It is yet to be confirmed who else was traveling with him. His daughter, Gianna Maria was on board the helicopter who died in the crash.
Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fatal crash
An 18-time NBA All-Star, Bryant was widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all-time. He was also voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008 and went on to win two gold medals with the USA Men’s Basketball team in 2008 and 2012. The news of his death came as a shock and stunned Los Angeles and the sports world. He was often compared with the legendary Michael Jordan. Today, the world of sports mourned one of basketball’s greatest players.
"We are stunned and devastated by the news of the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant," the NBPA said in a statement. "Words cannot express his impact on our Players, the NBA and the game of basketball. This is a monumental loss for the entire basketball community and our hearts are quite simply broken. We send love and prayers out to his wife Vanessa and the entire family."
The crash occurred shortly before 10 a.m. near Las Virgenes Road, south of Agoura Road, according to a watch commander for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Four others on board also died.
Bryant was in Philadelphia last night to watch LeBron James pass him for third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. James set the record in the third quarter of the Lakers’ 108-91 loss to the 76ers, scoring 33,655 points in his career. He finished his career with 33,643 points scored, which ranked third in NBA history from the time he retired until LeBron James passed him on the scoring list Saturday night.
Bryant was supportive of James passing him in the record books, tweeting out a positive message Saturday after the record-breaking points.
Bryant was born in Philadelphia. His father, Joe, played eight NBA seasons in the ‘70s and ‘80s for the Philadelphia 76ers, San Diego Clippers and, in his last stop, the Houston Rockets under then-coach Del Harris. A light-hearted, 6-10 string bean who went by his Philadelphia playground nickname, “Jellybean,” Joe Bryant played college ball at La Salle and married Pam Cox, the sister of a starting guard at Villanova. They named their first son Kobe, after the city in Japan.
So Who was Kobe 'Bean' Bryant?
Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He retired in April 2016.
His achievements include being the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also two-time NBA scoring champion and a two-time Olympic champion.
He also won an Oscar for best short animated film in 2018 for Dear Basketball, a five-minute film based on a love letter to the sport he had written in 2015.
The 6-foot-6 guard made his pro debut in the 1996-97 season opener against Minnesota; at the time he was the youngest player ever to appear in an NBA game. He started in only a handful of games during his rookie season, coming off the bench in support of Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones. However, coach Del Harris played him more as the season progressed, allowing Bryant to showcase the skills that made him a top candidate for rookie of the year. Those skills were also on display when Bryant won the 1997 NBA slam dunk competition.
RIP Kobe Bean Bryant