Market Extra: Kobe Bryant dies at 41; NBA icon among 9 killed in California helicopter crash
Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven other people have died in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday, according to reports.
News site TMZ was the first to report the former Los Angeles Lakers star’s death, which occurred in a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter, according to reports. The Los Angeles County Fire Department originally said at least five people died in the crash in the hills of Calabasas, Calif., just north of Los Angeles, but the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department later said flight records showed nine were onboard. There were no survivors.
Gianna Maria Onore Bryant, 13, was aboard the helicopter with her father, TMZ first reported, citing a representative for the basketball legend. A Southern California community college baseball coach, his wife and daughter, who played on the same basketball team as Bryant’s daughter, were among those killed, the Associated Press reported.
Check out: Kobe Bryant’s death: Messages of shock and sadness pour in
According to the Los Angeles Times, citing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the crash occurred shortly before 10 a.m. local time near Las Virgenes Road, south of Agoura Road.
The news site reported that Bryant had regularly used a helicopter to travel and was known for commuting from Newport Beach, Calif., to the Staples Center, the Lakers’ arena, in his chopper.
Bryant’s death comes a day after Lakers forward LeBron James passed him for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant had congratulated James via Twitter during the Lakers’ 108-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, about 16 hours prior to his demise.
ESPN showed that James had inscribed “Mamba 4 Life” and “8/24 KB” in gold marker on his shoes before Saturday’s game, as a sign of acknowledgment to Bryant.
The basketball star played 20 seasons in the NBA and was an NBA All-Star 18 times. He won five championships with the Lakers. He is survived by his wife Vanessa Laine Bryant, daughters Natalia Diamante, Bianka Bella, and Capri Kobe, as well as his father Joe Bryant and mother Pamela.
Bryant was considered a near-lock to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, with inductees set to be announced Feb. 14, during the NBA All-Star Weekend. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s list of candidate, included Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh, Shawn Marion, Michael Finley, Tamika Catchings and Swin Cash.
“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “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.”
Bryant wasn’t just an athlete.
In 2018, he won an Academy Award for “Dear Basketball” an animated short, based on a 2015 poem. He narrated the five-minute film, which was directed by Glen Keane.
He also was associated with a venture-capital fund, a $ 100 million investment vehicle targeting technology, media and data companies, with entrepreneur Jeff Stibel. Bryant had been investing with Stibel informally since 2013.