MALIBU—Former NBA star Kobe Bryant, 41, was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, January 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. The athlete was just one of five people killed in the crash. TMZ was first to report that Byrant’s 13 year-old daughter, Gianna Maria Onore was killed in the crash. The basketball legend was traveling in his private helicopter to the Mamba Academy when the crash transpired. Others killed in the crash included a teammate of Bryant’s daughter, a parent and the pilot of the helicopter.
Earlier reports surfaced on social media claiming that former NBA star Rick Fox was killed in the crash, but those claims have been proven to be false. Officials from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lost Hills Station were called to the scene of Las Virgenes Road and Willow Green Street, shortly after 10 a.m.
Kobe won a total of 5 NBA Championships during his career, where he played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 years. He was surpassed as the No.3 leading scorers in the NBA on Saturday, January 25, when Lakers star LeBron James broke that record. Fans have already gathered outside of the Staples Center to start a memorial to pay tribute to the basketball star. He is an 18-time All-Star. He was known by the nickname ‘Black Mamba’ and scored a total of 81 points during one basketball game. Bryant tweeted Saturday night “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644.”
Bryant was married to Vanessa Bryant, with whom he has four daughters. Vanessa was not on the helicopter that crashed. Bryant won an Academy Award in 2018 for Best Animated Short “Dear Basketball.” He made headlines in 2003 when he was arrested for sexual assault in Eagle, Colorado by a hotel employee, who accused Bryant of raping her. The criminal case was against the basketball star was dismissed, but a civil suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
Bryant is the son of former NBA star Joe ‘Jellybean’ Bryant. He was drafted right out of high school in 1996 where he was the No. 13 pick by the Charlotte Hornets, but later traded to the Lakers in July 1996. Bryant retired from the NBA in 2016.
Bryant’s former teammate Shaquille O’Neal tweeted “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.”
Written By Anita Brown and Casey Jacobs