CALABASAS, Calif. (WTOK) NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were two of nine people killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in Calabasas, California.
TMZ first reported the crash stating that Bryant was traveling in his private helicopter when it crashed and caught fire. TMZ also stated Bryant's wife, Vanessa, was not among those on board.
ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski later confirmed via Twitter that Bryant was on his way to a travel basketball game with his daughter Gianna when the helicopter crashed.
Others who were confirmed dead from the crash include John Altobelli, head coach of Southern California’s Orange Coast College baseball team, his wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa, who played on the same team as Bryant’s daughter. Altobelli's brother Tony, who is the sports information director at the school, confirmed their deaths.
According to AP News, the helicopter was flying at about 160 knots (184 mph) and descending at a rate of more than 4,000 feet per minute when it crashed.
Thousands of people gathered outside Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles to mourn and pay their respects to the Lakers' legend. Many wore No. 24 and No. 8 jerseys while laying down flowers, candles and cards in Bryant's memory.
Bryant spent his entire NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He won five NBA titles with the Lakers along with two Olympic gold medals playing for Team USA. Now fourth on the NBA's all-time scoring list, with 33,643 points, Bryant won two NBA Finals MVP awards and one NBA regular-season MVP nod in 2008.
Bryant wore both No. 8 and 24 with the Lakers, both of which were retired by the franchise in Dec. 2017.