Kobe Bryant Dies in Helicopter Crash
Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar who won five championships with the team and was often compared to Michael Jordan, died on Sunday in a helicopter crash. He was 41.
Officials confirm to Variety that Bryant was a passenger on board a helicopter that crashed in the Los Angeles County suburb of Calabasas.
Continue reading to discover what we know so far.
Flight over Calabasas
Bryant was among at least four people traveling in his private helicopter over Calabasas when a fire broke out, sending the chopper spiraling from the sky, according to TMZ Sports.
There were no survivors, and the cause of the crash is under investigation, according to TMZ. (Photo is an illustration)
Survived by wife and four daughters
An 18-time NBA All-Star, Bryant was considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all-time.
He is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and four daughters – Gianna, Natalia and Bianca, and Capri.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department responded to reports
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department responded to reports of a helicopter that crashed into a hillside and caught fire, NBC Los Angeles reported.
The crash was called in at 9:47 a.m. local time, per the report, and flames that spread a quarter acre were put out by 10:30. The fire department reported no survivors. (Photo is an illustration)
Bryant was born in Philadelphia, the youngest of three children and only son of former NBA player Joe Bryant and Pamela Cox Bryant. He is also the maternal nephew of basketball player John “Chubby” Cox. His parents named him after the famous beef of Kobe, Japan, which they saw on a restaurant menu. His middle name, Bean, is derived from his father’s nickname “Jellybean”. When Bryant was six, his father retired from the NBA and moved his family to Rieti in Italy to continue playing professional basketball at a lower level.
After two years they moved first to Reggio Calabria and then to Pistoia and Reggio Emilia. Kobe became accustomed to his new lifestyle and learned to speak fluent Italian. He is especially fond of Reggio Emilia, which he considers a loving place and where his best childhood memories were made. While there he seriously learned to play basketball. During summers, he would come back to the United States to play in a basketball summer league.
Moving back to the U.S.
Bryant started playing basketball when he was 3 years old, and the Lakers were his favorite team when he was growing up. Bryant’s grandfather would mail him videos of NBA games, which Bryant would study.
At an early age, he also learned to play soccer and his favorite team was A.C. Milan. When Kobe’s father Joe retired as a player in 1991, the family moved back to the United States.