WASHINGTON: Kobe Bean Bryant, the 41year old former shooting guard with the LA Lakers has died in a helicopter crash just before 10:00 am California time. The basketball star was traveling from New Port Beach, CA to Thousand Oaks, CA in Bryant’s Sikorsky S-76. Reports are that the area they were flying through had heavy fog. However, no cause for the crash has been announced. Bryant and four others on board perished in the crash. (Update: Reports are that nine people perished in this crash).
Reports are that Bryant’s oldest daughter, Gianna Maria ONore, aka GiGi, 13-years-old was on board as they were traveling to the Mamba Academy for basketball practice. Wife and mother, Vanessa Bryant was not on board at the time of the crash.
Kobe Bryant’s 20-year basketball career was spent with the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA). The basketball star went into the NBA following highschool. During his career, he won five NBA Championships (2000-2002, 2009, 2010). Bryant is also an 18-time All–Star (1998, 2009, 2010), one game behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19x), a 15-time member of the All–NBA Team, a 12-time member of the All-Defensive team and was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2008.
Mr. Bryant won two Olympic Gold Medals.
Bryant became the youngest player (34) in league history to reach 30,000 career points. He became the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history on February 1, 2010, surpassing Jerry West. During his third year in the league, Bryant was chosen to start the All-Star Game, and he would continue to be selected to start that game for a record 18 consecutive appearances until his retirement.
Kobe Bryant’s four All-Star MVP Awards are tied with Bob Pettit for the most in NBA history. At the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, Bryant was a member of the U.S. National Team that won gold medals. In 2018, Bryant won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his film Dear Basketball.
Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest basketball players of all time, leading the NBA in scoring during two seasons, and ranking fourth on the league’s all-time regular-season scoring and fourth on the all–time postseason scoring list. Bryant is the first guard in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons. Bryant played for legendary head coach, Phil Jackson (Chicago Bulls) for much of his career.
1996- 2015, 5x NBA championships, retired in 2016. Since retiring he has been working with the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation (KVBFF) that worked to improve the “lives of youth and families in need, both domestically and globally, and encouraging young people to stay active through sports. The Foundation provides financial resources, develops unique programs and raises awareness for relevant issues in order to strengthen communities through educational and cultural enrichment opportunities.”
Mr. Bryant leaves his wife, Vanessa Laine Bryant and four daughters, the youngest born in June of 2019. Also surviving are his father, former NBA player Joe Bryant and mother Pam and two sisters Sharia and Shaya.