Lakers legend, 5x NBA champion, father and husband Kobe Bryant has passed away in a helicopter crash in Calabasas California with his 13 year old daughter, Gianna Maria Onore, according to reports by TMZ Sports. Bryant was among at least five people traveling in his private helicopter that he frequently used for travel when a fire broke out, sending the helicopter down. Bryant was 41.
An investigation is ongoing, however the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said on Twitter there “were no survivors.”
One of the greatest basketball players of all time, Bryant’s career spanned over 20 years during which he became an 18-time All-Star champion, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, received two NBA Finals MVP honors, and was named league MVP in 2008. Bryant, also known by his moniker the Black Mamba, retired from basketball in 2016 after which he remained active in the world of basketball and later film, winning an Academy Award in 2018 for his film “Dear Basketball.” Bryant was scheduled to headline the N.B.A. Hall of Fame nominees later this year.
In a statement to The New York Times, California’s governor Gavin Newsom, and his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom, said, “In his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, he made history with raw talent and unparalleled dedication that raised the bar and paved the way for a newer generation of players. He was taken too soon and he will be missed.”
This is a sad time for everyone involved in the sports and wider world. A true legend was lost far too young.