Former NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant attends a promotional event organized by the sports brand Nike, for the inauguration of the infrastructure improvements of a local basketball playground at the Jean-Jaures sports hall “Le Quartier”, in Paris on October 21, 2017.
Philippe Lopez | AFP | Getty Images
Retired NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died Sunday morning in a fatal California helicopter crash that killed three others.
There were no survivors in the crash around 10 a.m. in Calabasas, Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The three other people killed were a teammate of Gianna’s, the teammate’s parent and the pilot. An investigation is ongoing.
Bryant, 41, played for 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers and is considered one of the best basketball players of all time. He won five NBA championships, was an 18-time All-Star and is fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Bryant was born in Philadelphia and attended Lower Merion High School in the Philadelphia suburbs, where he dominated as a high school basketball player. He was drafted into the NBA immediately after graduating high school, becoming one of the youngest players in the league’s history.
At 34 years old, Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to surpass the 30,000 point mark.
He retired in 2016, and was scheduled to headline the 2020 NBA Hall of Fame nominees. Bryant had four daughters with his wife Vanessa — Gianna, Natalia, Bianca and Capri. His father, Joe Bryant, was also a professional basketball player, and played with teams including the Philadelphia 76ers, the San Diego Clippers and the Houston Rockets.
NBA athletes, officials and fans mourned Bryant’s death in messages and memorials across social media.
LA county firefighters on the scene of a helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant in Calabasas, California, U.S., January 26, 2020.
Gene Blevins | Reuters
“I’m stunned. Words can’t even come close to describing it. Just an incredibly sad and tragic day,” former NBA star Scottie Pippen tweeted.
“Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players,” tweeted former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. “But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete.”
Former LA Laker Shaquille O’Neal also responded to the news: “There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW.”
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Washington Wizards in the first half at Verizon Center on December 2, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Rob Carr | Getty Images