‘Mamba, out’

Basketball legend dies in helicopter crash.

Kobe Bryant played for the Los Angeles lakers for his entire 20-year career. He is survived by his wife Vanessa and three daughters.

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Kobe Bryant played for the Los Angeles lakers for his entire 20-year career. He is survived by his wife Vanessa and three daughters.

Emma Siebold, Staff Writer

Jan. 26, 2020, is a day that will live in sports infamy.

After the Charlotte Hornets drafted (and subsequently traded) him in the 1996 NBA draft at just 18 years old, Kobe Bean Bryant played shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 years. He was a five-time NBA Champion, a league MVP and 18-time NBA All-Star. 

No one expected to hear the news of his death on Sunday afternoon. 

According to TMZ, Bryant traveled by helicopter to the Mamba Academy near Thousand Oaks for a basketball practice with his daughter Gianna, 13. Along with Kobe and Gianna, seven others boarded the aircraft, including Orange County College head baseball coach John Altobelli.

The helicopter crashed crashed on a hillside in Calabasas, Calif., about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County Fire Department reported there were no survivors.

Just hours after the crash, NBA teams and its fans honored Bryant’s memory. In San Antonio, the Spurs and the Raptors each took 24-second shot clock violations, honoring Bryant’s jersey number. At the Lakers’ stadium, the Staples Center, fans gathered outside to honor the fallen legend.

Inside the arena, the Grammy Awards mourned as well. Host Alicia Keys paid tribute to Kobe before the show started. During a performance by Aerosmith and Run DMC, Bryant’s jersey was held up in memorial, and Lizzo also kicked off her famed song, “Cuz I Love You,” by saying, “Tonight is for Kobe.”

In the Pro Bowl, Green Bay Packers linebacker Za’Darius Smith celebrated his sack by mimicking a jump shot in honor of Bryant. 

The two-time Olympic gold medalist is survived by his wife Vanessa and three other daughters: Natalia (17), Bianka (3) and Capri, just seven months old. 

Bryant has been nominated to be inducted into the NBA Hall-of-Fame, as well as Tim Duncan, Chris Bosh and Kevin Garnett. The decision will be made during the Final Four weekend in March.

Athletes and celebrities shared and tweeted their condolences for the NBA legend, including Richard Sherman, Khloé Kardashian, J.J. Watt, Tom Brady, Andrew Yang and Dennis Rodman.

Bryant wasn’t the only star on that plane. His daughter, 13 year old Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, was a promising basketball athlete coached by her legendary father. 

Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest basketball players to ever grace the court, and his memory will live on in every young boy and girl who picks up a basketball. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. And Bryant’s memory will surely last forever.

Rest easy, Mamba.

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