Basketball legend Kobe Bryant was with his daughter Gianna along with seven others when his private helicopter suffered the tragic crash. LA county sheriff confirmed no one on board survived. Bryant, a 5-time NBA Champion was part of LA Lakers franchise and remained one-man team throughout his career before calling it a time on his career in April 2016. Considered one of the greatest players in the history of Basketball, Kobe has been remembered at the Grammy Awards ceremony that held late at night in Los Angeles Lakers’ stadium. While tributes and eulogies are coming from the celebrities in and out of US, moments of silence have been observed across US to honor the sporting legend.
“We are all feeling crazy sadness right now,” said Alicia Keys who was hosting Grammys. Because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero. “We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built. Because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero. We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built,” she added.
The NBC in its statement narrated the incident saying it was “devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his Daughter, Gianna”. “For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” it recorded.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva told the press that nine people were on board when the crash happened. The reports earlier suggested a reduced number of five. A statement from issued from the city of Calabasas on Sunday afternoon, said it heard the news with great sadness. It went on to state: “The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 this morning. Nobody on the ground was hurt.”
A resident of the area Gavin Masak gave his account of the incident talking to CBS News: “It wasn’t exactly like an explosion sound but it was like a loud boom. It sounded like a helicopter, but it sounded like a jet, like it was loud, so I went inside and told my dad what was happening. So, when I came out, I saw smoke on the hill but it wasn’t like a big, black cloud of smoke, it was just grey,” he described.
The helicopter used by Kobe was identified as a Sikorsky S-76B by National Transportation Safety Board. The Board said their teams are on way to the crash site to start an investigation. Police have asked the people not to descend to the site having a very rough terrain so as not to interfere in the investigations being carried by the authorities.
Bryant a Lakers for his entire career that spanned through 20 years resigned from balling in April 2016. His resume of achievements includes 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and 2-time NBCA Finals Most Valuable Player. Kobe, 41 was also NBA scoring champion twice in his career and a 2-time Olympic Gold winner.
The shooting guard’s 81-point performance against Toronto raptors in 2006 was the second-highest single-game total in the game’s history. The #24 for Lakers also bagged an Oscar for best short animated film: Dear Basketball in 2018. The 5-mintue film was a love letter poem to the Balling he penned in 2015. Bryant has left wife, Vanessa and three daughters Natalia, Capri and Bianca behind him.
Bryant faced sexual assault charges in 2003 after a 19-year old woman who worked in Colorado resort came up with the assault allegations against the rising star. Kobe denied the accusations and maintained that the two had consensual sex. The case was dropped when the woman refused to enter the court with testimony. Kobe apologized to the lady later on and the matter ended after an out of court settlement.
Tributes are pouring in for the Basketballer on social media following the tragic crash. Kobe’s former teammate Shaquille O’Neal who played with him from 1996 to 2004 posted on his Instagram: “I love you and you will be missed” and added there were “no words to express the pain I’m going through”.
His Olympic team-fellow, Deron Williams, said he was lost for words and described the #24 as the greatest competitor he has ever gone up against and played with. Former Spurs’ star in NBA said he felt heartbroken by the sad demise of the Bryant.
United States President paid his 5 cents through a tweet. “Terrible news,” he said. “He loves his family so much and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating.”
Former US President Barack Obama paid his respect by describing Kobe as a “legend on the court” and added that he was “just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act”.
The Jamaican sprinting living legend and 8-timer Olympic gold recipient Usain Bolt said he could not believe the news. Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling tweeted: “rest easy legend”. “This is absolutely terrible. Everyone in numb,” wrote American actress and model Chrissy Teigen in her tweet.
Fans and mourners with flowers and Basketballs, gathered at a makeshift memorial for Kobe in front of Staples Center Sports and Entertainment arena in LA to play homage to the legend.