Today is a bittersweet day for sports lovers, Los Angeles and the world as whole. A little over one year ago, the legendary and incomparable Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, along with his 13-year old daughter Gianna and seven other passengers who were all on their way to the Mamba Academy for basketball practice when the crash occurred. Today would have been Kobe’s 43rd birthday.
Those aboard the helicopter also included another player and parent. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a news conference later Sunday that there were no survivors and according to the flight manifest there were nine people on board the helicopter. Los Angeles County fire chief Daryl Osby says authorities will not release names of victims until they are identified and next of kin notified.
At the time, fans rushed to Staples Center in Los Angeles where Kobe broke records, inspired an entire city for over 20 years, and famously retired in 2016. Coincidentally, the Staples Center was also the venue for the 2020 Grammy Awards that tonight.
Those who knew, loved and admired MAMBA took to social media to express their shock and condolences.
Just the night before, Kobe made headlines as LeBron James surpassed him on the NBA’s Top Scorers list, making Bryant number two.
Reports say that LeBron and the Lakers found out about Kobe’s death while on the team plane back to LA. Footage of the team arriving at LAX showed LeBron breaking down in tears shortly after hearing the news.
Kobe has been many people’s favorite player since entering the league in 1996. And, prior to his death, fans cherished the family and business man he had become.
Rest in peace to Kobe, Gianna and everyone who was aboard the the helicopter. Condolences to Vanessa, her and Kobe’s three daughters and the families of everyone else we lost today. In honor of #MambaForLife, let’s take a look at some of the moments when Kobe wasn’t in game mode and before he was the GOAT. Hit the flip to see some young, fun, KB moments.