Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna die in helicopter crash

Timeless Traxx 1

NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter were among several people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Bryant was 41.

Bryant was on his way to a travel basketball game with his daughter Gianna Bryant, who was 13, when the helicopter crashed, sources told Wojnarowski. Those aboard the helicopter also included another player and parent. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a news conference later Sunday that there were no survivors and according to the flight manifest there were nine people on board the helicopter.

Los Angeles County fire chief Daryl Osby said that the FAA is on the scene and will work with the NTSB to investigate the crash. He said that authorities will not release names of victims until they are identified and next of kin notified.

A source told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk that the Lakers found out about Bryant’s death while on the team plane flying home from Philadelphia.

“Everyone is in shock,” a team source said.

The crash comes one day after Bryant was passed by Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. As late as 10:39 p.m. ET on Saturday, Bryant was active on social media, congratulating James on Twitter during the Lakers’ 108-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

James inscribed his sneakers with “Mamba 4 Life” and “8/24 KB” in gold marker before the game, showing respect for Bryant, an 18-time All-Star with the Lakers who is eligible for the Basketball Hall of Fame this year. All week, in the lead-up to the milestone, he was quick to laud Bryant.

“It’s another guy that I looked up to when I was in grade school and high school,” James said. “Seeing him come straight out of high school, he is someone that I used as inspiration. It was like, wow. Seeing a kid, 17 years old, come into the NBA and trying to make an impact on a franchise, I used it as motivation. He helped me before he even knew of me because of what he was able to do. So, just to be able to, at this point of my career, to share the same jersey that he wore, be with this historical franchise and just represent the purple and gold, it’s very humbling and it’s dope.

“Kobe’s a legend, that’s for damn sure.”

A 6-foot-6 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.

Shaquille O’Neal, who won three titles with Bryant in Los Angeles, posted on Instagram: “There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW !”

This week marked the 14-year anniversary of Bryant’s 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors, still the second-most points ever scored in an NBA game behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100.

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

“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.”

The National Basketball Players Association said: “We are stunned and saddened by the news of the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant. 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.”

Bryant passed his childhood idol, Michael Jordan, on the all-time scoring list in 2014. Jordan embraced Bryant, fueling his passion for the game. The two had a memorable matchup in Bryant’s first All-Star Game selection in New York’s Madison Square Garden, and later, when Jordan played for the Washington Wizards, Bryant scored 42 points in a half (en route to 55 for the game) against him.

“He knows how much I’ve learned from him,” Bryant said of Jordan in 2014, “from the other legends and him in particular.”

A Philadelphia native, 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. He was credited with changing how NBA front offices viewed wing talent coming out of high school into the draft.

“I’m happy just to be in any conversation with Kobe Bean Bryant. One of the all-time greatest basketball players to ever play, one of the all-time greatest Lakers,” James said Saturday night. “The man got two jerseys hanging up in Staples Center. It’s just crazy.”

Bryant is the only player in NBA history to have multiple jerseys retired by a single franchise.

On Nov. 29, 2015, Bryant announced that he intended to retire at the end of the season, which launched a farewell tour for the ages around the NBA. He played in 66 games that season for Los Angeles, averaging 17.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

play
1:14

Nichols: Kobe loved being a dad

Rachels Nichols discusses Kobe Bryant’s relationship with his children, including his daughter Gianna, who died in a helicopter crash with Kobe.

In his final game, on April 13, 2016, he scored 60 points, leading the Lakers past the Utah Jazz 101-96.

Another Lakers legend, Magic Johnson, also said he was “heartbroken.”

Earvin Magic Johnson

@MagicJohnson

As I try to write this post, my mind is racing. I’m in disbelief and have been crying all morning over this devastating news that Kobe and his young daughter, Gigi have passed away in a helicopter crash. Cookie and I are heartbroken.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
10.6K people are talking about this

While Bryant was an unqualified star on the court, he did have controversy off it. He was accused of sexual assault in Colorado in 2003. The criminal case was dropped the next year, but Bryant still issued an apology. He said that he considered the encounter to be consensual but recognized that the woman “did not and does not view this incident the same way I did.”

Bryant married Vanessa Laine Bryant in 2001, and they had four daughters together. His father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, is also a former NBA player.

A moment of silence was held at the first NBA game of the day Sunday — the Nuggets’ contest against the Rockets in Denver. In San Antonio, after the initial tip-off, the Raptors and Spurs each allowed 24 seconds to run off the clock on the first two possessions without playing.

Hundreds of people gathered at a makeshift memorial outside the Staples Center Sunday afternoon.

Bryant transitioned into a post-basketball life that was far from retirement. He won an Academy Award in 2018, taking home an Oscar for the animated short, “Dear Basketball.” Bryant also created a children’s book series, inspired by his love for Harry Potter, which became a New York Times bestseller.

Colin Storm was in his living room in Calabasas when he heard “what sounded like a low-flying airplane or helicopter.”

“t was very foggy so we couldn’t see anything,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “But then we heard some sputtering, and then a boom.”

The fog then cleared a bit and Storm could see smoke rising from the hillside in front of his home.

Juan Bonilla of Calabasas said he was working on his roof Sunday morning when he heard a helicopter flying low nearby. He said he thought it was a sheriff’s helicopter on a training mission. He heard nothing amiss with the engine or rotors and said he did not see any mechanical issue with the chopper. It was foggy Sunday morning, but he said visibility didn’t seem to be low at the time of the crash.

Osby said that firefighters found a quarter mile brush fire when they hiked into the scene. Paramedics were lowered from a helicopter.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the downed chopper was a Sikorsky S-76.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent a “go team” of investigators to the site. The NTSB typically issues a preliminary report within about 10 days that will give a rough summary of what investigators have learned. A ruling on the cause can take a year or more.

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The NBA world mourns the death of Kobe Bryant

play

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar explains the impact Kobe Bryant had on Lakers fans and players and is still trying to comprehend his death. (1:32)

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among five people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Bryant was 41.

Drafted 13th overall in 1996 out of Lower Merion High School outside of Philadelphia, Bryant was a five-time NBA champion, a two-time NBA Finals MVP and the 2008 NBA MVP. The 18-time All Star retired in 2016 after 20 seasons in the league, all with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Tributes were pouring in from Laker Nation following the tragic loss of the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame nominee.

SHAQ

@SHAQ

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

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
220K people are talking about this

Earvin Magic Johnson

@MagicJohnson

My friend, a legend, husband, father, son, brother, Oscar winner and greatest Laker of all-time is gone. It’s hard to accept. Kobe was a leader of our game, a mentor to both male and female players.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
13.1K people are talking about this

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

@kaj33

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.

Embedded video

52.2K people are talking about this

Joey Buss

@Jbuss

I’m feeling numb – words can’t describe the impact Kobe has had on the world, LA, and the Lakers – not to mention the influence he had in my life as someone I grew up idolizing. I loved him – and send my condolences to all the families who lost someone today. RIP

1,016 people are talking about this

Jason Kidd

@RealJasonKidd

You will be missed brother. My thoughts are with the Bryant family at this difficult time. RIP Kobe.

View image on Twitter
932 people are talking about this

Steve Nash

@SteveNash

My heart is broken for Kobe and his family. I’ll never forget the battles but what I really admired was the father he was to his girls. Rest In Peace old friend with your angel Gianna 💔

4,177 people are talking about this

Jared Dudley

@JaredDudley619

Speechless on this plane ride home! A sad day bruh! RIP Kobe Bean Bryant! Prayers go to his family and loved ones 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 This doesn’t even feel real man..

1,541 people are talking about this

Derek Fisher

@derekfisher

Struggling to process what is now a reality. Kobe’s life after basketball was just beginning and his second act was going to be even greater. His legacy, Gigi’s legacy both will live on forever!

1,222 people are talking about this

Players, coaches and executives across basketball — many of whom shared the court with Bryant during his career — shared their condolences on social media.

LA Clippers

@LAClippers

Doc Rivers remembers Kobe Bryant.

Embedded video

1,865 people are talking about this

Trae Young

@TheTraeYoung

…This S*** can’t be real… this the first moment I was able to meet Gianna Maria, she’s been to only 3 games this year… 2 of them were mine… She told me I was her favorite player to watch🙏🏽 I can’t believe this😢😭

Rest Easy Gigi❤️

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
17K people are talking about this

Joel Embiid

@JoelEmbiid

Man I don’t even know where to start😭😭 I started playing ball because of KOBE after watching the 2010 finals. I had never watched ball before that and that finals was the turning point of my life. I WANTED TO BE LIKE KOBE. I’m so FREAKING SAD right now!!!!

RIP LEGEND

31.7K people are talking about this

Tony Parker

@tonyparker

I’m heartbroken by this news, you were a true legend, and friend. Rest In Peace @kobebryant, my thoughts and prayers to his wife and kids.

View image on Twitter
12.6K people are talking about this

Scottie Pippen

@ScottiePippen

I’m stunned. Words can’t even come close to describing it. Just an incredibly sad and tragic day.

3,893 people are talking about this

Steve Ballmer

@Steven_Ballmer

The Clippers mourn Kobe Bryant, an icon in this city and this sport, who inspired teammates and opponents with his drive and determination. Kobe left an indelible mark on the world. His family, friends, fans and the Laker organization are in our prayers. We will miss him.

472 people are talking about this

Breanna Stewart

@breannastewart

At a loss for words, RIP to a legend. Can’t believe this.

197 people are talking about this

Mike Conley

@MCONLEY10

Words are tough to find right now. Truly heart broken and praying for each family involved. It was an honor to compete against you.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
634 people are talking about this

Goran Dragić

@Goran_Dragic

Peace and power to the Bryant family, and basketball lovers around the world. R.I.P @kobebryant 😢

View image on Twitter
472 people are talking about this

On Sunday, NBA teams across the country held moments of silence before tip-off and honored Bryant before and during games.

SportsCenter

@SportsCenter

The Rockets and Nuggets held a moment of silence before tipoff to remember Kobe Bryant.

Embedded video

11.3K people are talking about this

Kirk Goldsberry

@kirkgoldsberry

Raptors and Spurs dribble out the 24.

Embedded video

6,386 people are talking about this

Malika Andrews

@malika_andrews

The inside and outside of Madison Square Garden are lit in purple and gold in honor of Kobe Bryant.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
128 people are talking about this

Andrew Lopez

@_Andrew_Lopez

Lonzo Ball with messages on his shoes tonight including RIP Gianna as well as an 8 and 24 on the back for Kobe.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
336 people are talking about this

The world joined the NBA in remembering Bryant’s legendary career and impact.

Barack Obama

@BarackObama

Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. 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.

229K people are talking about this

ESPN

@espn

Fans at the Pro Bowl broke out in “Kobe” chants when he was honored during a timeout.

Embedded video

7,316 people are talking about this

ESPN FC

@ESPNFC

Neymar dedicated his 2nd goal to the late Kobe Bryant 🙏

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
8,364 people are talking about this

Usain St. Leo Bolt

@usainbolt

Still can’t believe ⁦@kobebryant🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿

View image on Twitter
3,460 people are talking about this

Patrick Mahomes II

@PatrickMahomes

Man not Kobe… Prayers to his family and friends!

10.3K people are talking about this

Tom Brady

@TomBrady

We miss you already Kobe ❤️❤️🙏🏼🙏🏼

81.9K people are talking about this

Francis Ngannou

@francis_ngannou

Terribly sad 😭
RIP to a legend who meant so much to so many. You will be remembered forever as the champion you are.🙏

View image on Twitter
176 people are talking about this

Wayne Gretzky

@WayneGretzky

Janet and I have no words to describe our shock and sadness on the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant today. Praying for him and his family. 🙏

1,739 people are talking about this

P.K. Subban

@PKSubban1

Shocked and in complete disbelief… A father, husband, legend, and idol gone way too soon. Thank you for the time, the lessons, and 20 years of greatness. 🐍

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
756 people are talking about this

Kendall

@KendallJenner

rest peacefully Kobe, Gigi & the rest of the passengers we lost today. my heart truly goes out to all the families. give a big hug to the people you love today ❤️

View image on Twitter

 

Timeless Traxx 2

More To Explore