NBA legend Kobe Bryant was among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. on Sunday at around 10 a.m. PT (or 1 p.m. ET). The first reports indicated that five people died, but the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office announced in a Sunday press conference that nine people died later in the afternoon.
He played 20 years in the NBA from 1996-2016 where he won five NBA championships, all with the Los Angeles Lakers. He also won two Olympic Gold Medals with the USA Basketball men’s national basketball team in 2008 and 2012.
Kobe isn’t the only member of his family to die in the crash. He was going to a basketball practice with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who also passed away according to TMZ and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Sources: Kobe Bryant was on his way to a travel basketball game with his daughter Gianna when the helicopter crashed. Those aboard the helicopter also included another player and parent.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 26, 2020
This is still very surreal. That’s because Bryant was just 41 years old when he passed away — and he also said some comments about Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne not too long ago. As a matter of fact, I wrote about that story just last Friday. Jan. 23.
Bryant was also known for issuing a preseason challenge to John Wall for him to make the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 2017, which Wall also accepted.
Again, I’m in disbelief about the news. Though Bryant is one of the best NBA players of all time, he was also very young. He’s a likely shoo-in to make the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this summer in a potential class of recent retirees that that includes Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh and Tamika Catchings.
I feel sick to my stomach about it all. Rest in peace and paradise, Kobe.
We will update this story as needed.