Former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant died Sunday morning as the helicopter he was traveling in, collided with a mountain near Calabasas shortly before 10 am. There had been reports that very low visibility linked to lingering fog had already grounded several flights in the area. The copter, a Sykorsky S-76B property of the NBA legend was also carrying Kobe Bryant’s 13 years old daughter Gianna, the pilot along with 8 others. All on board perished in the crash which is being investigated by NTSB and FAA.
The son of a former NBA player (Joe “jelly bean” Bryant), Bryant achieved legendary status during his NBA career, playing 20 seasons solely with the Los Angeles Lakers. As a exceptionnally gifted 18 years old high school basketball player, he would stun the world by jumping straight from Pennsylvania’s Lower Merion High School to start a professional NBA career, forgoing the usual college transition. Selected 13th pick overall by the Charlotte Hornets on the 1996 NBA Draft, he was immediately traded to the Lakers where he would spend his entire career.
As a 6’7″ shooting guard, he was to gain notoriety as a slam dunk artist winning the trophy during the 1997 All Stars Game slam dunk contest. A fierce competitor winning 5 NBA championship, he would prove a prolific scorer leading the league in scoring twice, including a 81 points outburst in a single game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. By the time he retired at the end of the 2015-2016 season, he had accumulated 33,643 points ranking 4th in the NBA All Time scoring list behind Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Karl malone and Lebron James, but having surpassed Michael Jordan.
Kobe Bryant born August 23rd, 1978 is survived by wife Vanessa and daughters Bianka, Natalia and Capri.