CALABASAS (NEWS 1130) – The sports world has been rocked by the death of one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
Kobe Bryant and his daughter, 13-year-old Gianna Maria Onore, were two of nine people killed when the retired NBA player’s helicopter went down Sunday morning in Calabasas, west of Los Angeles.
The father and daughter were on their way to the Mamba Academy for a basketball practice when the helicopter crashed, according to TMZ.
TMZ was one of the first to report Bryant’s death. It was later confirmed by multiple other sources.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department would not confirm the identities of anyone on board.
Bryant retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history, finishing two decades with the Lakers as a prolific scorer with a sublime all-around game and a relentless competitive ethic. He held that spot in the league scoring ranks until Saturday night, when the Lakers’ LeBron James passed him for third place during a game in Philadelphia, Bryant’s hometown.
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames,” Bryant wrote in his last tweet Saturday night. “Much respect my brother.”
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
Bryant had one of the greatest careers in NBA history and became one of the game’s most popular players as the face of the 16-time NBA champion Lakers franchise. He was the league MVP in 2008 and a two-time NBA scoring champion, and he earned 12 selections to the NBA’s All-Defensive teams.
He teamed with Shaquille O’Neal in a combustible partnership to lead the Lakers to NBA titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002. He later teamed with Pau Gasol to win two more titles in 2009 and 2010.
Bryant was 41 years old. He leaves behind his wife, Vanessa Laine Bryant, who he married in 2001. The couple had four children together: Natalia Diamante, 17; Gianna Maria-Onore, 13; Bianka Bella, 3; and Capri Kobe, who is 7 months old.
RELATED ARTICLE: Athletes, fans take to social media to mourn Kobe Bryant’s death
News of his death has sent a wave of shock and sadness around the world. Hockey great Wayne Gretzky, New England Patriots Tom Brady, and former U.S. President Barack Obama among the people reacting to the sudden death.
Janet and I have no words to describe our shock and sadness on the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant today. Praying for him and his family.
— Wayne Gretzky (@WayneGretzky) January 26, 2020
Reports are that basketball great Kobe Bryant and three others have been killed in a helicopter crash in California. That is terrible news!
We miss you already Kobe
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) January 26, 2020
Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 26, 2020