NBA Legend Kobe Bryant Dies in a California Canyon

 

 

One of the greatest athletes in professional sports history has passed away.

Fox News reports that 41-year-old Kobe Bryant — whose triumphant tenure with the LA Lakers spanned two decades — died in a helicopter crash Sunday morning in Calabasas, California.

The city confirms:

At present time, as per the Federal Aviation Administration, the Sikorsky S-76 crashed under “unknown circumstances.”

Four others were aboard.

According to L.A. Times reporter Richard Winton, at the time of the crash, the mountains were “fogged in.”

From Richard’s online coverage for the Times:

Jerry Kocharian was standing outside the Church in the Canyon drinking coffee when he heard a helicopter unusually low struggling overhead. “It [didn’t] sound right and it was real low. I saw it falling and spluttering. But it was hard to make out as It was so foggy,” Kocharian said. The helicopter vanished into a cloud of fog and then there was a boom.

There was a big fireball,” he said. “No one could survive that.”

No one did.

In 1996, Kobe was picked up during the first round of the NBA Draft. But he was traded — by the Charlotte Hornets — to Los Angeles before the beginning of the 96-97 season.

Bryant would lead the team to five NBA championships, including three straight titles from 99-02 as part of the dynasty shared with Shaquille O’Neal.

Kobe also earned two rings in ’09 and ’10.

The small forward and shooting guard played his last game in 2016 against the Utah Jazz, during which he scored 60 points.

He retired as an 18-time All-Star, 12-time All-NBA Defensive Team pick, two-time NBA Finals MVP, and league MVP for 2008.

He made the All-NBA team 15 times.

And along the way, he made half a billion dollars.

There is, as of yet, no official confirmation of the aircraft’s other passengers.

However, TMZ is reporting Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter — Gianna Maria — was among the victims:

The sports world has lost an icon.

Life is precious, and our stay here temporary.

There’s no better time than now to tell those we love how we feel. What they mean to us. How lucky we know we are.

I am.

I believe Kobe was.

So are you.

Thank God for our luck — which isn’t luck at all, but a blessing.

-ALEX

 

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