Kobe Bryant death: Latest news, updates and reactions as NBA legend dies at 41 in helicopter crash
The five-time NBA champion was one of nine people who died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles County
Brad Botkin | CBS SPORTS
Kobe Bryant died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The Los Angeles Lakers legend and five-time NBA champion was 41 years old. An investigation of the crash that killed all nine people on board, including Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, is ongoing, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. CBS Sports will provide the latest information confirmed, as well as social media reaction, here.
Here is what has been confirmed so far:
- The crash happened just before 10 a.m. PT
- Nine confirmed deaths and no survivors
- A brush fire caused by the crash prevented first responders from immediately getting to the site
Bryant will be remembered as one of the greatest players of all time, as his resume pretty much speaks for itself. His accolades include:
- Spent 20 seasons in the NBA, all with the Lakers
- Fourth-leading scorer in NBA history (33,643 points)
- Five-time NBA champion, twice named Finals MVP
- 18-time All-Star
- 11-time All-NBA First Team
- Nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team
- Two-time Olympic gold medalist
- Youngest player in NBA history at the time of his debut in 1996
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva: “We have a manifest that indicates there was nine people onboard the aircraft. The pilot plus eight individuals. There is wide speculation as who the identities are. However, it would be entirely inappropriate right now to identify anyone by name until the coroner has made the identification through their very deliberate process and they’ve made the notifications to the next of kin. It would be extremely disrespectful to understand that your loved one has perished and you learn about it from TMZ. That is just wholly inappropriate so we’re not going to be going there. We’re going to wait until the coroner does their job and we’re assisting the families of those who believe they’ve been impacted and it’s a tough process.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said there were nine people on the aircraft total — a pilot and eight passengers. He would not confirm who died until all the next-of-kin are notified, he said.
Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby: “The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s initial response was 15 pieces of apparatus and 56 personnel.”
Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby: “At 9:47 a.m. the Los Angeles County Fire Department received a 911 call of a potential helicopter down and a brush fire…Upon arrival, our firefighters discovered approximately a quarter-acre brush fire that resulted from a crash on the hillside.”
This one hurt’: NBA stars and public figures grieve after Kobe Bryant’s death
Kalhan Rosenblatt | NBC SPORTS
Pro basketball players past and present flooded social media Sunday after news broke that NBA legend Kobe Bryant had died Sunday in a helicopter crash.
A call for a downed helicopter in Calabasas, California, went out at 10:01 a.m. local time, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The city of Calabasas later confirmed that Bryant and his daughter Gianna, 13, were among the passengers who died in the crash.
Authorities believe nine bodies were found at the scene.
Current and former NBA players shared their disbelief on social media.
Bryant’s former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal posted to Instagram to say he was sick over the news.
“There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board,” O’Neal wrote.
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, also a former Laker, tweeted a video saying it was hard for him to put his feelings into words.
“Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players. But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete,” Abdul-Jabbar’s tweet read.
Magic Johnson had this to say:
LeBron James was spotted in tears, hugging multiple people and walking with his head down hours following the stunning death of NBA and Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
According to video from NBC, James had just landed in Los Angeles with his teammates following a game in Bryant’s hometown of Philadelphia, where James passed Bryant with 33,655 points to become the third highest-scorer in NBA history.
Former Heat star Dwyane Wade tweeted, “Nooooooooooo God please No!”
Here’s an excerpt from an October 2017 article about Kobe and Draymond by Clay Skipper of GQ:
Bryant’s words, according to Green: Ninety-eight percent of people are okay with mediocrity or less. Guys like Bryant and Green, though, they’re out for something different—greatness. So, Green remembers Kobe saying, “as long as you wait for them to understand you, you’re f–ked.”
“It was the best s–t I ever heard,” Green says. “Because it gave me an understanding of why people don’t understand me. I’m so crazy competitive. I put my competitiveness up there with anyone. How could someone understand that? It’s a different level.”
NBA Players, Teams, and More Mourn and Pay Tribute to Kobe Bryant During Sunday’s Games
Column: How can Kobe Bryant be gone? His legend wasn’t supposed to end this way
BILL PLASCHKE | L.A. TIMES
I’m screaming right now, cursing into the sky, crying into my keyboard, and I don’t care who knows it.
Kobe Bryant is gone, and those are the hardest words I’ve ever had to write for this newspaper, and I still don’t believe them as I’m writing them. I’m still crying, and go ahead, let it out. Don’t be embarrassed, cry with me, weep and wail and shout into the streets, fill a suddenly empty Los Angeles with your pain.
No. No. No, damn it, no!
Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people who died in a helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas and how does that happen? Kobe is stronger than any helicopter. He didn’t even need a helicopter. For 20 years he flew into greatness while carrying a breathless city with him.
This can’t be true.
Kobe does not die. Not now. Kobe lives into his golden years, lives long enough to see his statues erected outside Staples Center and his jerseys inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He lives long enough to sit courtside at Staples when he’s stooped and gray, keeping alive the memories of two decades of greatness with a wink, maybe even fooling everyone one last time by retiring in a community next to Shaq.
How can Mamba be dead? Mambas don’t die. Why this, why now, why him, why them? Kobe and Gianna leave behind an incredibly strong wife and mother, Vanessa, and daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, who was born last summer. The horror of this is unspeakable. The tragedy of this is immeasurable.
Go ahead and keep crying, you won’t be alone. A huge hole has been cut out of Los Angeles’ heart, and the wound is breathtaking.
Kobe was your childhood hero. He was your adult icon. For 20 years he was on posters in your bedroom, on the television in your living room, in the lunch talk in your school cafeteria, in the smack talk at your office water cooler, and ultimately riding on a truck down Figueroa Street while you cheered and bragged and bathed in his greatness.
You watched him grow up, and this city’s relentless approach to sports grew with him, and soon, even with all of his off-court failings, many people felt they carried a little piece of him.
On your best days, the days you landed a big account or aced a big test or just survived a battle with traffic, you felt like Kobe. You were Kobe. And in the end, as he retired into a life of movies and books and coaching Gianna’s basketball team, he was us.
For me, he not only dominated my professional life, he consumed it. He arrived in Los Angeles two months before I began writing this column. We used to joke that we started our journeys together. But then he would pat me on the back and shake his head at that notion because, well, he always followed his own path.
He was the one Laker who never had an entourage, and many nights after games we would chat as I walked with him to his car. Except when he would get mad at me for what he considered unfair criticism, and then we wouldn’t talk for weeks, because when he was playing, he was that rare fighter who never dropped his fists.
I covered his first game. I covered his last game. I wrote about everything in between, the titles and the sexual assault charges and the trade demands and the titles again and then finally that 60-point career-ending game against Utah.
I screamed from press row that night, just as I’m screaming now, still shaking, still not believing.
Kobe Bryant is gone.
We just talked last week.
I emailed Kobe with a request to speak to him about being passed on the all-time scoring list by LeBron James.
He emailed me back immediately. He always did.
He cleared his calendar and made time to chat on the phone because, as he always said, “You’ve been there for everything with me.”
But then, in our 20-minute conversation, he showed a side of Kobe that I had not seen before.
The edge was gone. The arms were open. He urged acceptance of LeBron. He preached calm for Lakers fans. He said greatness wasn’t worth anything if you couldn’t share it.
After about five minutes the message of this call was clear, the steely-eyed Mamba was purposely moving into a role of a wise, embracing and grateful leader of a community that had shown him so much patience and love.
“It’s crazy, watching this city and growing with it,” he said before hanging up. “I feel such an appreciation, I can never pay the city back for what it’s given me.”
And now he’s gone. Kobe is gone. Kobe is gone.
I’ll say it 81 times and it still won’t make any sense.
Kobe Bryant is gone and, so, too, is a little bit of all of us.