Professional basketball legend Kobe Bryant has died as the result of a helicopter crash near Los Angeles, California on January 26. A 41 year old Bryant and his 13 year old daughter Gianna were among the nine victims in the crash.
The helicopter – a Sikorsky S-76 – went down in the foggy hills of Calabassas – about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. There are no details of what caused the crash at this time.
An Orange County resident, Bryant often used a helicopter as his personal transportation to help avoid the crowded southern California highways.
The father of four daughters, Bryant was an advocate for women’s sports and spent time mentoring and coaching female basketball players including his daughter Gianna.
Bryant was an 18 time National Basketball All Star and was on five championship teams during his 20 year basketball career. His other NBA accomplishments include an MVP, a 12 time selection to the NBA All-Defensive team, and a two time NBA scoring champion. A two time Olympic gold winner in basketball, Bryant’s number eight and number 24 jerseys have been retired by the Lakers.
He retired over three years ago after a 20 season career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the third leading NBA scorer at the time of his retirement.
Like many in California, Bryant entered the entertainment world after his retirement and earned an Academy Award for his contributions to the animated short film “Dear Basketball”.
He was born Kobe Bean Bryant on August 23, 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the son of professional basketball player Joe “JellyBean” Bryant. After spending most of his childhood in Italy where his father played, Kobe was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets but was shortly traded to the Lakers where he spent his entire career.
Survivers include his wife of nearly 20 years Vanessa and three daughters – Natalia, Bianka, and Capri who was born last year.
feature photo credit: By Kobe_Bryant_7144.jpg: Sgt. Joseph A. Leederivative work: JoeJohnson2 (talk) – Kobe_Bryant_7144.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8039249