Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna (13), and 7 others departed John Wayne Airport via helicopter at 9:06a on Sunday morning, 1/26. Shortly after, an air traffic controller indicated via communications with pilot, Ara Zobayan that the helicopter was flying too low to be picked up by radar. Zobayan reported dense morning fog and made an effort to climb to more than 2000ft above sea level but then descended and crashed into a hillside in Calabasas. The first 911 call reporting the crash was received at 9:47a.((Helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant made climbing turn before rapid dive. www.espn.com)) All passengers were killed in the crash.
Kobe Bryant was drafted right out of High School in 1996 and spent 20 years, his entire professional basketball career, with the Los Angeles Lakers. In that time, he collected the following: 1996-97 All-Rookie, 2007-08 MVP, 18x All-Star, 2x Scoring Champ, 5x NBA Champ, 15x All-NBA, 12x All-Defensive, 4x AS MVP, and 2x Finals MVP.((Kobe Bryant. www.basketball-reference.com)) He’s considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
I can remember when Kobe Bryant was first drafted in 1996. He was the prospect of the decade. Among other memories was his performance in the 2010 NBA Finals when the Lakers beat the Celtics 4-3.((2010 NBA Finals: Celtics vs. Lakers. www.basketball-reference.com)) I’ve always been impressed with Kobe’s productive career; he was an icon. We lost him way way too soon; he was just 41.
When I first heard the news, I didn’t want to believe it as it’s among the some of worst I’ve ever heard. We’re deeply saddened about the loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and the other passengers on the helicopter. May peace and comfort be with their families, friends, and all those who knew them.