Kobe Bryant, 41, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, and seven others were killed when their helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, Calif., on Jan. 26.
There is still an ongoing investigation on the exact causes of the crash, but so far poor weather conditions have been attributed to the disaster. The weather conditions were so hazardous that the Los Angeles Police Department had to ground their helicopters.
Bryant and his daughter were on their way Thousand Oaks, Calif., for a youth basketball game at Mamba Sports Academy where Gianna Bryant was to play in the basketball game and Kobe Bryant was to coach it.
Other than Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant, the victims in the crash include:
- John Altobelli, 56, Orange Coast College head baseball coach
- Kerri Altobelli, 46, John Altobelli’s wife
- Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Gianna Bryant's basketball teammate and daughter of Kerri and John Altobelli
- Payton Chester, 13, another teammate of Gianna Bryant
- Sarah Chester, 45, mother of Payton Chester
- Christina Mauser, 38, a basketball coach at Harbor Day School
- Ara Zobayan, 50, the pilot of the helicopter
In an audio recording between the pilot and the air traffic controllers, the pilot had received clearance to fly in poor weather and was operating under “Special V.F.R” status, which allows the pilot to fly in such conditions. In Special V.F.R status, the pilot did not use the help of specific navigation instruments to guide him.
The Sikorsky S-76B helicopter departed John Wayne Airport in Orange County at 9:06 a.m. PT. The LAPD received the first 911 call at 9:47 a.m.
Kobe Bryant’s Legacy
Widely regarded as the era-defining figure of the post-Jordan NBA, Kobe Bryant is a five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he spent all of his 20-year career until retiring in 2016. He was a two-time NBA Finals MVP and a one-time regular season MVP. Byrant is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist and an 18-time All Star.
As one of the most complete scorers the league has ever seen, Bryant held the third place in the NBA's all-time scoring list until surpassed by fellow Laker LeBron James hours before the fatal crash. Bryant will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in August of 2020.
Byrant’s legacy off the court is complicated. After he retired, he won an Academy Award and received praise for promoting women’s sports at all levels. He was also the father of four girls.
Yet, in 2003, he allegedly raped a 19-year-old woman in Eagle County, Colo.. Although the criminal charges were dropped, Byrant later apologized and paid the woman to settle the civil case. Many saw this incident as one of the defining moments of Byrant’s career as well as his legacy.
Since the tragic accident on Sunday, Bryant’s history as an alleged rapist has spurred debates as people around the world gathered to celebrate the life of the iconic star.
The Mourning of Kobe Bryant
The sudden death of Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant has impacted the lives of friends, family, fans and celebrities alike. People all around the world have expressed their condolences.
“Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day,” former president Barack Obama tweeted.
Chris Collins, the men’s basketball head coach at Northwestern University, offered his perspective of the impact Bryant had on his life and many others.
“I coached him with the national team on three different teams: 2007 leader qualified for the Olympics, 2008 in Beijing, and in 2012 in London,” Collins said. “A lot of times we would go on those exhibition tours leading up to those games. For three of those summers, basically that becomes your family for six weeks.”
Collins expressed condolences on behalf of himself and his team.
“Everybody in our program, our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family and his wife and their children,” he said.
Vanessa Bryant, the wife of Kobe Bryant, posted a tribute to Kobe and Gianna on Thursday, Jan. 30.
“We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri,” she wrote.“Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me.”
Kobe Bryant leaves behind his wife, Vanessa, and three daughters: Natalia, Bianka and Capri.
Article thumbnail: Kobe_Bryant_7144.jpg: Sgt. Joseph A. Leederivative work: JoeJohnson2 [Public domain]