According to a report from TMZ, NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13- year-old daughter Gianna Maria Bryant, were killed Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in California.
According to the report, the crash occurred in Calabasas, California, and all aboard the helicopter were killed.
Kobe was traveling with at least 3 other people in his private helicopter when it went down. A fire broke out. Emergency personnel responded, but nobody on board survived. 5 people are confirmed dead. We’re told Vanessa Bryant was not among those on board.
Kobe has famously used a helicopter to travel for years — dating back to when he played for the Lakers. He was known for commuting from Newport Beach, CA to the STAPLES Center in DTLA in his Sikorsky S-76 chopper.
The tragic news was also confirmed by ABC 7 in Los Angeles:
— JimMacKayOnAir (@JimMacKayOnAir) January 26, 2020
Bryant and his daughter were reportedly traveling to basketball practice when the accident occurred. “We’re told they were on their way to the Mamba Academy for a basketball practice when the crash occurred,” TMZ reports. “The Academy is in nearby Thousand Oaks.”
According to ESPN:
A 6-foot, 6-inch small forward with the ability to swing up front and play point or shooting guard, Bryant entered the NBA straight out of high school. In 1996, he became the youngest player in NBA history.
He won five NBA titles in his time with the Lakers, as well as two Olympic gold medals playing for the United States. Now fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, with 33,643 points, Bryant won two NBA Finals MVP awards and one NBA regular-season MVP nod in 2008.
A native of Philadelphia, Bryant was selected No. 13 overall in 1996 by the Charlotte Hornets before being traded to the Lakers. He wore both No. 8 and 24 with the Lakers, both of which were retired by the franchise.
In December of 2017,the Lakers retired Kobe’s #8 and #24, the two numbers he donned during his 20 years in Los Angeles. Lakers legend Magic Johnson called Bryant the greatest Laker of all-time. Referring to him as “the greatest who’s ever worn the purple and gold.“
Johnson went on to say, “I hope you recorded every game, and I hope you’re doing the same tonight. Because there will never be another Kobe Bryant.”
Lakers Owner Jeanie Buss also came out to heap praise on Bryant. “We’re retiring both of your numbers, because if you separated each of these of the accomplishments under those numbers, each of those players would qualify for the Hall of Fame.”