Former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant was in his private helicopter with eight others passengers, including one of his four daughters, when it crashed. The accident occurred near Los Angeles. He was 41.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver confirmed that Bryant and one of his four daughters, 13-year-old Gianna, were among those killed and sent condolences to Bryant’s wife, Vanessa.
“He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary,” Silver said.
A five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant was nicknamed “The Black Mamba” and was one of the best basketball players ever.
In San Antonio, the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs allowed the 24-second shot clock to expire on each of their first possessions in tribute to Bryant’s jersey number, 24.
“I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing. Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling,” said Michael Jordan, who won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls.
Mourning fans gathered near the Lakers’ home arena – the Staples Center in Los Angeles – surrounding a wreath with the message: “Kobe we love you RIP.”
Bryant retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history, finishing two decades with the Lakers as a remarkable scorer with a amazing competitive ethic.
Named Kobe by his parents after they spotted the popular Japanese cut of beef on a restaurant menu shortly before his birth, Bryant won NBA titles in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010.
He was drafted out of high school with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets but was traded shortly after to the Lakers.
He was named the Most Valuable Player for the 2007-08 regular season and landed MVP honours in the 2009 and 2010 finals when he led the Lakers to consecutive championships.
Bryant also won gold medals with the US basketball team at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
We surely will miss Bryant.