Across the world and within the tight-knit NBA community, people are mourning today as it has been reported that former basketball star Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas bushland in California. Reportedly accompanied by eight other people including the pilot and his daughter, Gianna, there are said to be no survivors according to Los Angeles authorities.
Alex Villanueva, the Los Angeles County sheriff has declined to identify the remaining victims thus far and investigations into the cause of the crash are ongoing as the crash site is difficult to access unless on-foot.
“It would be extremely disrespectful to understand your loved one has perished and you learn about it from TMZ,” Villanueva said. “That is just wholly inappropriate so we are not going to be going there. We are going to wait until the coroner does their job.”
Celebrities, sporting stars and those close to Bryant are mourning the sudden and tragic loss of the 41-year-old and his daughter, with social media flooding with tributeS. In light of the news, fans have gathered at the Staples Centre ahead of the 62nd Grammy Awards to lay a memorial where flowers are being offered and the screens above lit with images of the athlete.
Bryant was drafted to the NBA straight from high school in 1996 where he was named an All-Star in 18 out of 20 seasons for the Lakers and was best known for leading the team to five national championships. During the 2007 season, he was named as the NBA MVP and the final’s MVP in 2009 and 2010. His resumé also includes an 81-point game in 2006 that is the second-highest single-game total in the association’s history while he attended the Olympics in 2008 and 2012.
Stay tuned for further developments.