Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash Sunday afternoon, January 26, 2020 alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Bryant was traveling to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, California when his private Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed in Calabasas, stunning the Internet. He was 41.
KB is survived by his wife Vanessa. Together, they have four daughters — Gianna, Natalia and Bianca and their newborn Capri. Kobe and Vanessa got married in 2001. Kobe is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
During his 20-year career in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Bryant was an 18-time All-star, 15-time All-NBA Team member, 12-time All-Defensive Team, and 2008 league MVP. He was the first guard in history to last 20 seasons and had just been surpassed by LeBron James to drop down to fourth highest all-time regular season scorer.
Bryant’s last tweet passed the torch on the James, 35.
Because Bryant’s daughter was with him, reports were initially unclear and one ABC News reporter jumped the gun, announcing all four of his children dead. Several other former Lakers were also rumored to be aboard, but the final remaining three fatalities are still unknown.
Meanwhile, an MSNBC anchor called Bryant’s former team the “Los Angeles Niggers” during a live broadcast regarding his death. she was quick to say Lakers, it’s unclear if the mistake was made by the anchor or the teleprompter. Either way, many are calling for her to be fired.
The MSNBC reporter who used the word, Alison Morris, apologized on Twitter for the incident and explain what happened.
“Earlier today, while reporting on the tragic news of Kobe Bryant’s passing, I unfortunately stuttered on air, combining the names of the Knicks and the Lakers to say ‘Nakers.’ Please know I did not & would NEVER use a racist term. I apologize for the confusion this caused.”
Elsewhere on social media, some are jumping in to remind mourners about Bryant’s 2003 sexual assault allegations. He was arrested in Eagle, Colorado after a 19-year-old woman reported he sexually assaulted her. This cost Bryant many of his most prominent sponsorships and a giant diamond ring for his wife, Vanessa.
Bryant released a rap album, like many of his contemporaries. Rapper Lil Wayne also has a Kobe Bryant song that celebrates Bryant’s achievements.
As a longtime Phoenix Suns fan, I watched Kobe Bryant and the Lakers play my home team many times over his 20 years on the court. Known as the Black Mamba, Bryant truly was one of the best 4th-quarter clutch players in the history of the game. There’s a reason everyone hated him long before he was accused of rape.
Bryant’s book The Mamba Mentality: How I Play includes an intro by former Lakers coach Phil Jackson and a foreword by Pau Gasol. It explains his views on his career and is likely to skyrocket in sales this month. He also appears on the cover of the following video games:
- Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside
- NBA Courtside 2: Featuring Kobe Bryant
- NBA Courtside 2002
- NBA 3 On 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant
- NBA ’07: Featuring the Life Vol. 2
- NBA ’09: The Inside
- NBA 2K10
- NBA 2K17 (Legend Edition; Legend Edition Gold)
Kobe’s original number 8 jersey was replaced by the 24 in 2007 when he needed a rebirth. The man spent the first half of his career being compared to Michael Jordan and the last half being compared to LeBron. This technical player had a turbulent life that ended tragically short for both him and his daughter.
Thirteen is a young age, and I will pray for the surviving members of the Bryant family tonight.