The whole world is grieving as the 18-time NBA All-star Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, January 26 (Monday, Manila time), Spin.ph reports. He was 41.
His 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria Onore Bryant, or “Gigi” to her close friends, was with him in the helicopter and died alongside him.
The father and daughter duo were on their way to a basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy, Kobe’s basketball training complex in Thousand Oaks, California. Gianna was going to play, and Kobe was going to coach, CNN reports.
Media outlets have said that Kobe frequently traveled via private helicopter to beat the traffic when going to basketball games or practice.
The helicopter took off from Orange County, where NBA star lived, and crashed in Calabasas, California, at around 10 a.m., about 20 miles from Mamba Sports Academy. The aircraft, Sikorsky S-76, was built in 1991, according to initial information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigation on The LA Times.
Residents in Calabasas noticed that the aircraft was flying low. People near the crash site heard a fluttering, “falling noise” and that it sounded like something was wrong. Authorities have been searching for the aircraft’s black box to find out what caused the crash.
With Kobe and Gianna, seven other people who were on board the aircraft also perished, including the pilot. There were a total of nine passengers.
Kobe, who had a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, credited his daughter, Gianna, for getting him to watch the sport again after his retirement in 2016, according to an article on People. He said they watch a game every night.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
“We just had so much fun because it was the first time I was seeing the game through her eyes,” the five-time NBA champion said of sharing the experience with his daughter on the Showtime Basketball podcastAll the Smoke.
Kobe shared it was nice to watch the game not as an athlete but about her daughter having a good time. Over the past couple of years, the 13-year-old has become a staple in basketball.
In October 2018 on Tonight with Jimmy Kimmel, the former Lakers player said Gianna hoped to lay in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), and Kobe — speaking not just as a parent but a coach of her daughter’s team — believed she would.
When Gianna was present and fans would come up to Kobe to say he needed a son to carry on his legacy, Gianna would interrupt to say, “I got this.”
Kobe and Gianna is survived by their family: Kobe’s wife Vanessa Byrant and three daughters, Natalia Diamante, 17, Bianka Bella, 3, and Capri Kobe, 7 months.
CONTINUE READING BELOW
Celebrate your pregnancy milestones!
Enter your details below and receive weekly email guides on your baby's weight and height in cute illustration of Filipino fruits. PLUS get helpful tips from experts, freebies and more!
You're almost there! Check your inbox.
We sent a verification email. Can't find it? Check your spam, junk, and promotions folder.