NBA legend Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash


Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles Sunday.

This story has been updated to reflect that there were nine individuals killed in the helicopter crash that took the lives of retired NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, not five individuals as originally reported. (Jan. 27, 2020)

Retired NBA great Kobe Bryant, 41, was killed when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed and burst into flames outside of Los Angeles around 10:00 a.m. Pacific time Sunday. His daughter Gianna, 13, was also on board.

There were no survivors among the eight passengers and pilot aboard the helicopter, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. The Bryants and the rest of the passengers were enroute to Gianna’s travel basketball game which Bryant was expected to coach. While the identities of the others on board are being withheld pending notification to their families, CNN is reporting that the other seven on board included two of Gianna’s teammates, one traveling with both parents and the other with her mother, and another youth basketball coach.  The recovery effort is expected to take several days due to the remote location and condition of the crash site. The investigation into the cause of the crash is expected to take considerably longer.

It is a true tragedy that we are experiencing as members of pop culture. Kobe was very present and known around sports, media, and all related fields. Dwayne Wade, J.J Watt, and 2 Chainz are among culture icons that have offered their condolences to Bryant and his family. As disbelief engulfs us all, let’s take a look at the memories Bryant has brought us over the years to honor the unbelievable player we have lost.

Bryant was nothing short of an unreal scorer, hard worker, and winner. He had the heart of a champion and displayed his God-given abilities throughout his 20-year career. His idealized jumpshot was one that many players, pro and amateur, tried shaping theirs after. Many will remember Bryant’s hard work on and off the court through the highly used phrase “mamba mentality” that represented non stop competing to be the best possible version of oneself.

Included among the milestones Bryant achieved in his career are five NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals, 18 All Star game appearances – including four game MVPs – an MVP award, and 15 appearances on the All-NBA Team. Among those five championships, three of them were won in a span of three years.

Bryant had some amazing moments that no NBA fan will ever forget. On January 22, 2006, he scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, which is the second highest scoring game of all time, only behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point game. Other memorable games include his 55-point game against his idol Michael Jordan in 2003, a 61-point performance in Madison Square Garden in 2009, and 26 other 50-point games.

In 1997, his rookie year, Bryant won the Slam Dunk challenge after throwing down a between-the-legs dunk and multiple reverse dunks. The outcome of the contest shouldn’t be a surprise as Bryant seemed to win at all he did.

One of Bryant’s most honored traits was his clutch “gene.” He showed that throughout the regular season and playoffs. In 2009, he knocked down a bank-in three pointer over Dwayne Wade as time ran out against the Miami Heat. In the 2006 playoffs, Bryant sent the game into overtime and later won the game with two cold-blooded shots, which are remembered among his greatest moments. In 2000, Bryant and fellow teammate Shaquile O’Neal iced the game with an alley oop assisted by Bryant against the Portland Trail Blazers.

In his final NBA game, Bryant scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz to lead the Lakers to a final Kobe-led victory. After the game, he delivered a speech to the fans and concluded it by saying “Mamba out,” which was truly a historic way to officially end a career. 

Kobe Bryant will undoubtedly be in the NBA Hall of Fame due to his amazing career. We, at The Torch, offer our condolences to the Bryant family and anyone who felt love for the NBA legend.

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