CALABASAS, Ohio (WOIO) - The life of 41-year-old NBA legend Kobe Bryant was cut short after his helicopter crashed in Calabasas, Calif. on Sunday, according to the NBA.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff confirmed a total of nine people were killed in the crash.
Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria Onore was one of those on board, according to the NBA.
The upcoming basketball star was on her way to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks with her father for a basketball practice, according to TMZ.
According to ESPN, three of victims were one of Gianna’s teammates, that teammate’s parent, and the pilot.
Orange Coast College confirmed baseball coach John Altobelli was also one of the victims of the crash, along with his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa.
The 56-year-old was heading into his 24th season as the OCC’s coach and was named the American Baseball Coach Association’s national coach of the year in 2019 following a state championship.
City of Costa Mesa Mayor announced Orange Coast College girl’s basketball coach Christina Mauser, who is the wife Tiajuana Dogs musician Matt Mauser, also died in the crash.
The identities of the two other victims are unknown at this time.
However, TMZ reported that Bryant’s wife since 2001 was not in the crash.
Together, they had three other daughters named Natalia, Bianka, and their youngest Capri, who was just born in June.
“GiGi” was the second oldest.
During his 20-year career with the Lakers after being drafted as a first-round pick in 1996, Bryant won five NBA championships, was named the NBA Finals MVP twice and the league MVP in 2008, and made 18 All-Star teams.
Bryant’s jersey numbers 8 and 24 were the only ones retired in the team’s history.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
According to TMZ, Bryant has been traveling in his Sikorsky S-76 chooper since his years as a Laker, and was known for commuting to the STAPLES Center in downtown Los Angeles from Newport Beach.
Officials from Kobe Bryant’s high school in Pennsylvania said the district is mourning the loss of their most prominent alum.
The conference was held in front of the gymnasium named in his honor.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff held a press conference and said the coroner is working to identify the nine victims of the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Bureau held a press conference in Washington before taking off to investigate the crash site.
According to the NTSB, investigators will be looking into the history of the pilot and crew, history of the owner and operator, as well as maintenance records of the helicopter.
The NTSB also stated that this investigation will be handled as any other.
The day before his untimely death, LeBron James reflected on his favorite memories of Mamba and the impact he had on his life after the Akron native surpassed Kobe to become third in all-time NBA scoring.
Bryant responded with a tweet congratulating James.
It was the last tweet Bryant ever sent.
Cleveland athletes quickly took to social media to share their thoughts on the tragic news, including Browns QB Baker Mayfield, who called Kobe his idol.
Other Browns players that tweeted out their memories of Bryant, include Myles Garrett, David Njoku, and Joe Schobert.
The Cleveland Cavaliers then tweeted out their condolences to Bryant’s family, saying members of the organization stand in disbelief.
Cavs center Tristan Thompson also expressed his shock by the news.
Cavs forward and center Larry Nance Jr. changed his profile picture to a time when he was teammates with the former Laker.
Fellow NBA greats who have also stepped off the court shared similar messages of being in shock of losing their friend.
Michael Jordan’s manager released a statement on his behalf which said Bryant was “like a little brother.”
Lakers and league legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said he will remember Bryant not only for his magnificence on the court, but off it as well.
Another Laker legend Magic Johnson said he cried all morning over the devastating news over a series of tweets.
A third Lakers favorite Shaquille O’Neal stated he was sick over the loss of those he considered to be family.
Shaq’s son, Shareef shared that he talked to the man he called an uncle reached out to him just over an hour before his helicopter went down.
Even former President Barack Obama and President Donald J. Trump expressed their sympathies.
Thousands of Lakers fans almost immediately gathered to create a memorial outside of STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement saying:
"The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.
For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals. But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.
We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world."
Nike sent out a statement as well, which read:
"Along with the millions of athletes and fans throughout the world, we are devastated by today’s tragic news.
We extend our deepest sympathies to those closest to Kobe, especially his family and friends. He was one of the greatest athletes of his generation and has had an immeasurable impact on the world of sport and the community of basketball. He was a beloved member of the Nike family. We will miss him greatly. Mamba forever."
The Toronto Raptors and the San Antonio Spurs were one of the many teams playing following the news of Bryant’s passing.
During pre-game, the teams decided that whoever wins the tip would run down the shot clock for 24 seconds in honor of #24.
The Brooklyn Nets also played the Knicks on Saturday.
Former Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving chose not to play as he mourns the loss of his close friend.
Brooklyn Nets’ head coach Kenny Atkinson was also visibly upset as he held back tears.
Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban announced on Sunday night that the organization will retire number 24 in honor of the global icon.
"We are shocked and saddened by the devastating news of the passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.
Kobe was an ambassador for our game, a decorated legend and a global icon. Above all, he was a loving and dedicated father.
Kobe’s legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick.
Our hearts go out to all the lives lost and the families impacted by this terrible tragedy. We send our thoughts and prayers to Vanessa and the family, the Lakers organization and Kobe Bryant fans everywhere."
The 62nd annual Grammy Awards held in the STAPLES center began on a somber note after Lizzo kicked it off by dedicating her performance to Bryant saying, “Tonight is for you, Kobe” before singing “Cuz I Love You.”
Host Alicia Keys then commenced her opening monologue saying, “Earlier today, Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero... We’re standing here in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
She began to sang an acapella rendition of “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” by Boyz II Men when she was joined by members of the group.
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