Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, 7 others die in California helicopter crash

Kobe Bryant with daughter Gianna
Kobe Bryant with daughter Gianna.

NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna were killed today in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Gianna was herself a raising basketball star. Bryant was a coach on her team.

The two were among nine killed as they traveled on Bryant’s private helicopter to Gianna’s basketball game at the Mamba Academy.

In Bryant’s last Twitter post, he praised Lebron James, after the Lakers forward surpassed him to take third place on the NBA’s career scoring list. James set the new scoring milestone during Saturday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers. “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644”

James had glowing word for Bryant as well, saying Bryant was an inspiration, “It’s another guy that I looked up to when I was in grade school and high school. Seeing him come straight out of high school, he is someone that I used as inspiration. It was like, wow. Seeing a kid, 17 years old, come into the NBA and trying to make an impact on a franchise, I used it as motivation. He helped me before he even knew of me because of what he was able to do. So, just to be able to, at this point in my career, to share the same jersey that he wore, be with this historical franchise and just represent the purple and gold, it’s very humbling and it’s dope.

Kobe’s a legend, that’s for damn sure.”

A two-time Olympic gold medalist, the 41-year-old Bryant retired from the NBA in 2016 after spending his entire 20-year career with the Lakers. He won five NBA titles and was twice voted finals MVP. A statue of Bryant stands outside of Staples center.

Bryant’s passing is surreal as he was active on social media platforms less than 15 hours before his death. Athletes all over the world are reacting to the news of the tragedy. ”This is not real right now, ” Paul Pierce tweeted.

Scottie Pippen wrote, ”I’m stunned. Words can’t even come close to describing it. Just an incredibly sad and tragic day.”

Shareef O’Neal, who’s father Shaq played alongside Bryant on the Lakers, posted a screenshot of a text message conversation the two had shorty before Bryant’s death, “Literally this morning you reached out to me …. 😔 I love you forever unc ❤️ I love you”

Shaq shared his thoughts on Instagram, writing, “There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing my niece Gigi & my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. I’M SICK RIGHT NOW!”

And basketball great, Michael Jordan released a statement: “I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing. Words can’t the pain I’m feeling. I loved Kobe – he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much.

“He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply – and took great pride in his daughter’s love for the game of basketball.

“Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organization and basketball fans around the world.”

Kobe Bryant was loved by many and is being remembered for being an incredible athlete, father, friend, husband, mentor, and much much more. He is survived by his wife of 19 years, Vanessa Laine Bryant, and daughters Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.

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