NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter were among several people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Bryant was 41.
Bryant was on his way to a travel basketball game with his daughter Gianna Bryant, who was 13, when the helicopter crashed, sources told Wojnarowski. Those aboard the helicopter also included another player and parent. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a news conference later Sunday that there were no survivors, and according to the flight manifest, there were nine people on board the helicopter.
Los Angeles County fire chief Daryl Osby said the Federal Aviation Administration is on the scene and will work with the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the crash. He said that authorities will not release names of victims until they are identified and next of kin notified.
Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli was among the victims, his assistant, Ron La Ruffa, told the Orange County Register. Altobelli won four California community college titles in his 24 years at the school.
A source told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk that the Lakers found out about Bryant’s death while on the team plane flying home from Philadelphia.
“Everyone is in shock,” a team source said.
The crash comes one day after Bryant was passed by Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. As late as 10:39 p.m. ET on Saturday, Bryant was active on social media, congratulating James on Twitter during the Lakers’ 108-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
James inscribed his sneakers with “Mamba 4 Life” and “8/24 KB” in gold marker before the game, showing respect for Bryant, an 18-time All-Star with the Lakers who is eligible for the Basketball Hall of Fame this year. All week, in the lead-up to the milestone, he was quick to laud Bryant.
“It’s another guy that I looked up to when I was in grade school and high school,” James said. “Seeing him come straight out of high school, he is someone that I used as inspiration. It was like, wow. Seeing a kid, 17 years old, come into the NBA and trying to make an impact on a franchise, I used it as motivation.
He helped me before he even knew of me because of what he was able to do. So, just to be able to, at this point of my career, to share the same jersey that he wore, be with this historical franchise and just represent the purple and gold, it’s very humbling and it’s dope.