Kobe Bryant and His Daughter Gianna Killed in a Helicopter Crash
Nine people including Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were in a helicopter that plunged into a rough terrain near Calabasas, California. Aside from the former N.B.A. star and his daughter, the helicopter crash killed a baseball coach who was accompanied by his wife and daughter. Los Angeles County authorities said that recovering bodies from the site of the crash will take several days. The pilot didn't survive the crash either.
41-year-old Bryant was a retired basketball player, who was traveling with Gianna, his 14-year-old daughter when the helicopter crashed on Sunday. During a news conference, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the crash claimed nine lives. On Sunday evening, a team was sent to California according to The National Transportation Safety Board.
The crash site was understandably hard to access, forcing firefighters to hike to the area, Los Angeles County fire chief Daryl Osby said. It took some time for them to figure out details such as the number of people the helicopter was authorized to carry and whether or not if the aircraft was overloaded. The N.B.A. informed the league employees and all other teams about the death of Bryant’s and his daughter's death on Sunday afternoon.
Veteran Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli was one of the victims of the crash. Altobelli was traveling with his wife, Keri and daughter Alyssa, according to university officials. For those unaware, Orange Coast College is a junior college located in Costa Mesa. California.
Authorities Need Several Days to Find Bodies from the Crash
SiLos Angeles County sheriff Alex Villanueva says it was difficult for emergency officials to access the crash site even during the day since the helicopter dropped into an area with rough terrain. Moreover, the debris field was about a hundred yards on both sides. The local authorities refrained from revealing the identities of those traveling in the helicopter right away.
Los Angeles County chief medical examiner Dr. Jonathan R. Lucas noted that recovering the bodies could take a long time. Nevertheless, they will be doing their best to investigate the crash site for the bodies as soon as they can and with sheer compassion, Dr. Lucas added. They hope to confirm identification and inform family members of the victims as soon as possible.
The Grammy Awards Pays Tribute to Kobe Bryant
At the same stage where the popular basketball player put his stamp on the N.B.A. (National Basketball Association) and the Lakers, his death put a damper on a typically exuberant event - the Grammy Awards. Alicia Keys, who hosted the show paid tribute to Bryant during the CBS broadcast commencement, performing "It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" along with Boyz II Men, the hip-hop and R&B group that popularized the song.
Taylor Swift, John Legend, Demi Lovato and other top stars of the music industry expressed their sorrow over Bryant's death during the show.
Kobe Bryant Was One of the Best Basketball Players
Back in 1996, when Bryant was still in high school, he was drafted to the N.B.A. and was announced All-Star in almost all his seasons (18 out of 20) for the Lakers, spearheading his team to a whopping five championships. Most of his disagreements with the public, coaches and players can be attributed to his competitive nature. Nevertheless, he was without an iota of doubt committed to winning.
N.B.A's MVP (Most Valuable Player) award winner for the 2007-2008 season, as well as in 2009 and 2010 N.B.A. finals, Bryant was highly committed to winning on either end on the court. His work history boasts a couple of scoring titles, an 81-point game (2006), which is considered to be the second-highest total in a single game in the history of N.B.A. - but that's not all. He made twelve appearances in the NBA All-Defense team.
Furthermore, he also left an everlasting impression on the international stage, winning gold medals for the United States in the Olympics in 2008 and 2012. Despite injuries taking a toll on Bryant, he scored an impressive 60 points in his final game, where he propelled Lakers from the last place to a surprising win over the Utah Jazz.
Following his retirement, Bryant took the role of a champ for women's sports and expanded his scope. His short animated film titled Dear Basketball won an Academy Award in 2018. Aside from that, he created a web series for ESPN dubbed "Detail," wherein he evaluated existing players. In a poem written in "Dear Basketball" to announce his retirement, Bryant said, "My heart can take the pounding / My mind can handle the grind / But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.” Bryant was slated to headline N.B.A. 2020 Hall of Fame nominees.
Fans Gather at Staples Center
Fans who crowded together at Staples Center showed the racial and ethnic diversity of the iconic basketball player's professional city. 7-year-old Leo Márquez placed a candle at the memorial with tear-filled eyes. He was so emotional that couldn't explain the reason for coming there, but his mother Alejandra Márquez said Leo wanted to come because he always watched Bryant on television with his dad.
Likewise, 18-year-old University of Southern California student Adam Jackman said he was at Staples Center for the impact Bryant had on L.A. both on the court, as well as in the community. Registered nurse Joe Rivas who was on the gym treadmill when the news of his death was shown on the TV says "the whole place froze."