Kobe Bryant Dies In Helicopter Crash

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning in Calabasas, California, according to a report from TMZ. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter) is among those who have confirmed the report.

Bryant and eight other people are dead after his private helicopter crashed and caught fire on a hillside in the Calabasas area, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva (Twitter link). Initial reports from TMZ and others had indicated that Bryant was one of just five people on board, but Villanueva confirmed there were eight passengers, plus the pilot.

Kobe’s wife Vanessa Bryant wasn’t among the passengers on the helicopter, according to TMZ. However, reps for Bryant tell TMZ Sports that his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria Onore was also on board and died in the crash.

TMZ’s report suggests that the helicopter was on the way to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball practice, while Wojnarowki reports that it was en route to a travel basketball game. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), another player and parent were also on board.

It’s a shocking and devastating development for the NBA community. Bryant, who was just 41 years old, is considered one of the league’s greatest players of all-time and is only four years removed from appearing in his final All-Star Game. Although Bryant was a Laker for his entire career, he’s connected in various ways to a number of franchises around the NBA, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic observes (via Twitter).

Many of today’s stars also grew up idolizing Kobe, a five-time NBA champion who earned 15 All-NBA nods, 18 All-Star berths, 12 All-Defensive honors, a pair of scoring titles, and is the league’s fourth all-time leading scorer, averaging 25.0 PPG in 1,346 career regular season games. Both of the uniform numbers he wore for the Lakers – Nos. 8 and 24 – have been retired by the franchise.

Following his retirement in 2016, Bryant hosted offseason camps for current NBA players, most recently in the summer of 2019. Besides stars like Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Kyrie Irving, young players such as Jamal Murray, John Collins, and Aaron Gordon participated in those camps.

News of Bryant’s death comes less than 24 hours after LeBron James passed him in all-time points. Bryant’s last tweet, published on Saturday, lauded James for “continuing to move the game forward.” LeBron, meanwhile, was effusive in his praise for Bryant this week.

“It’s another guy that I looked up to when I was in grade school and high school,” LeBron said, per ESPN. “Seeing him come straight out of high school, he is someone that I used as inspiration. It was like, wow. Seeing a kid, 17 years old, come into the NBA and trying to make an impact on a franchise, I used it as motivation. He helped me before he even knew of me because of what he was able to do. So, just to be able to, at this point of my career, to share the same jersey that he wore, be with this historical franchise and just represent the purple and gold, it’s very humbling and it’s dope.

“Kobe’s a legend, that’s for damn sure.”

We at Hoops Rumors send our condolences to Bryant’s family and friends.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

newest oldest

74 thoughts on “Kobe Bryant Dies In Helicopter Crash

  1. bumpy93

    R.I.P. Love. I loved u when you got to LA. Horrible news. I hope his family wasn’t with him. #8 & #24 legend

  2. ric7744

    So sad, please stay out of private planes and helicopters. They are very dangerous compared to commercial flights and I hate even commercial flights.

    • The Mistake of Giving Eugene Melnyk a Liver Transplant

      I do wonder about the stats on private planes/helicopters safety as it seems like something like this happens like twice a year to a very famous person.

  3. All American Johnsonville Dogs

    Black mamba is playing pickup games with some of the greats up in the sky now.

  4. Thronson5

    Makes me sick to stomach. Heart broken. This is gut wrenching news. Pray for his wife and kids, they will need it. I hope none of his kids were on board, nothing has been confirmed about that yet

  5. Jason Lancaster

    Unbelievable. I feel sorry for his kids.

    His legacy is complicated, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a loss.

    • No. That’s just ridiculous. If the Lakers were playing today then, yeah, suspend the game absolutely, even if it is an away game (they are on their Grammys road swing). But the other games don’t need to be suspended, that’s overboard.

  6. dalrob

    I agree. All games should be postponed and rescheduled. That is the least the NBA should do.

      • ChiSoxCity

        So a tragic death of an NBA icon doesn’t warrant league wide postponement? I know empathy is lacking in these current generations of humans, but people need time to grieve properly.

        • maximumvelocity

          The news broke as plenty of fans were already gathering for two games, and likely after thousands more were in preparation for later games.

          It just isn’t practical to cancel a Sunday slate of games the day of, and even less practical to do so over the death of a former player, no matter how big he was.

          This isn’t 9/11, either in scale of tragedy, or timing (Early Tuesday morning EST).

        • LOL! You wanting everyone to grieve the way you want to is the definition of having lack of empathy dude. Not me.

      • ChapmansVacuum

        Spurs and Raptors each took 24 second violations to start the game in his honor.

      • Otogar

        If a close friend of some player died a few hours before a game, everyone would understand that he didn’t play. I’m sure in today’s games there are a number of players who were close to Kobe. It will be weird for them.

    • Marner#16

      Sad news. However no one is bigger then the game and life goes on. Games should not be postponed and for sure a moment of silence. More I’m sure to come tommorrow. I’m sure I’m gonna get slammed for this post. He’s not a current player but he is for sure a Laker/NBA legend. RIP!

  7. Mikel Grady

    #BREAKING: Kobe’s daughter Gianna Maria was also on board the helicopter and died in the crash tmz.me/ngAw1tO

  8. Just to update a bit… TMZ is reporting that his 13 year old daughter was onboard as well.

  9. clubber_lang84

    Never liked the Lakers, but this guy really picked up Jordan’s torch. He was a true ambassador of Sports. Incredible work ethic, spoke like 5 languages, and inspired millions. Much respect. RIP

  10. sportsfan101

    As a celtics fan he was one of my favorite players growing up the pure dominance of his play and the nature of his game and how he conducted himself was amazing. Truly so sad for not just the nba but sports in general he was a class act. #ripkobe

    • roguesaw

      Considering how young he was joining the league, in many ways we got to watch him grow up. From kid to elder statesman. Shows how small a window these guys get to compete at that level. At the end of his career we’re all thinking he’s too old and his body is not holding up any more to the rigors of the NBA. Then, today, he passes away at 41. Much too young.

  11. Dodgethis

    As tragic as it is, and RIP to one the greats, the news reporting on this event has been attrocious. TMZ apparently are the only people who have sources, and the rest of the news either didn’t mention Kobe by name, or used words like “according to TMZ”, which made it incredibly hard to know if he had actually passed on or not. It was incredibly sloppy and a symptom of today’s report first investigate second mentality. Not a critisizism of this site, just the coverage in general

    • ZacharyH

      Because tmz doesn’t have an agenda, and the viewers are gullible, unlike viewers of other news who already know everything

  12. hiflew

    RIP Kobe. Setting aside basketball for a moment, he crammed far more success in life into his 41 years than most do in 85 years.

  13. mjctrack

    Was never a Kobe fan, but this news causes a lot of reflection. You just never know when it’s your time so enjoy every moment you have on this world

  14. victorg

    as a life long rockets fan and 5 years younger then Kobe i was in middle school when he came into the league and i did not care for how he carried himself and i hated how he killed my rockets through out the years.BUT i respected him so damn much regardless of his legal trouble or martial issues he was a man who loved his children and loved helping younger athletes he deserved a better ending to his story here on earth and as a father of 4 daughters i know his last seconds alive were filled with the horror that there was nothing he could do to save his little girl may they both rest in peace and my prayers to all the familes affected by the crash.

Leave a Reply