The news of Kobe Bryant’s death stunned the sports world as people remember the basketball superstar who won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant, 41, was killed in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday morning, officials said. His daughter Gianna Bryant, who also played basketball, was among those killed in the crash.
Seven other people died, including a teammate of Bryant’s daughter, a parent of the teammate and the pilot. Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli was also killed, the Orange County Register reported. The crash happened at around 10 a.m. local time about 65 km northwest of central Los Angeles, the city of Calabasas said on Twitter.
Bryant retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history and after scoring 60 points in his final NBA game. He played two decades with the Lakers as a prolific scorer with a sublime all-around game and a relentless competitive ethic.
Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and their three other daughters Natalia, Bianca and Capri, who was born in June, 2019.
Fans, friends and other sports personalities from around the world began voicing their grief after news of his death.
The Academy tweeted ahead of the 92nd Oscar nominations in memory of Bryant saying “like all great artists, Kobe Bryant proved the doubters wrong.” Bryant won an Oscar in 2018 for his animated short, Dear Basketball.
In San Antonio, the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs paid their respects by allowing the 24-second clock to expire on each of their first possessions. The crowd began to chant ‘Kobe’ as both teams allowed the clock to run down. Bryant wore number 24 for most of his career, while he played for the Lakers.
Politicians spoke out to remember Bryant. Former Vice-President Joe Biden stopped to speak about Bryant at a campaign stop in Iowa after just hearing about the crash. He had met Bryant a handful of times.
With reports from Reuters and the Associated Press.