A helicopter holding nine passengers crashed in Calabasas, California, Jan. 26. Everyone on board, including former basketball player Kobe Bryant, died.
Kobe’s daughter Gianna, 13, was also on board the helicopter. They were on their way to a youth basketball tournament that Gianna’s team was a part of. Kobe coached the team.
You may remember Kobe Bryant from his 20-year career in the National Basketball Association with the Los Angeles Lakers. After being selected 13th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft, Kobe went on to have a successful career racking up five NBA championships, two NBA Finals MVP awards, and 18 All-Star Game appearances.
Not only was Bryant successful on the court, but he also won an Academy Award with the animated short film, “Dear Basketball.” He narrated the film based on a poem he wrote.
After retiring in 2016, Kobe’s jersey numbers 8 and 24 were retired for the Lakers’ franchise. The numbers currently hang in the rafters of the Staples Center.
The day after Bryant’s death, multiple teams such as the Atlanta Hawks and the New Orleans Pelicans purposefully took eight second violations, followed by a twenty-four second shot clock violations to honor the late Kobe Bryant.
Other sport icons such as Neymar Jr. of the Barcelona (Spain) Football Club paid tribute after scoring a goal by making the numbers 2 and 4 with his hands.
Other basketball players in the NBA used their shoes to pay respects. Many sneakers were the Lakers’ color combination of Purple and Yellow. One NBA player, Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz, wore his Nike Kobe 4 Protro sneakers that read: “R.I.P. KB ‘24 FOREVER’.”
Kobe Bryant was married to Vanessa Laine Bryant since 2001. They have three children in addition to Gianna: Natalia, 17; Bianca, 3; and Capri, 7 months. The family resides in Newport Coast, California.