The world of basketball was severely shaken by the death of the retired NBA star, Kobe Bryant, and his daughter Gianna. They were among nine people that were killed in a helicopter crash. The incident occurred in the city of Calabasas, California.
The Fatal Flight
At the time of writing, there is an investigation into what might have caused the helicopter crash that resulted in the death of nine people. There are several possibilities, one of which includes engine failure, though there were no outward signs of this. However, there are a few facts that are known for sure.
The helicopter was given special permission to fly, despite the less-than-stellar flying conditions, including the fog. The company and the pilot lacked legal certification that allows flying in poor visibility. Though the flight took off in warm and sunny weather, the aircraft was soon enveloped in a fog so thick the LAPD grounded its helicopters.
The helicopter took off from John Wayne Airport around 9 a.m. The reason for Bryant’s trip was coaching the Little Mambas, the team his daughter belonged to.
Around 9.20, the aircraft was above Glendale, requesting SVFR clearance, the aforementioned special clearance for flying in poor visibility. About 10 minutes later, the pilot was instructed to follow the 5 Freeway. A little while later, the Burbank air traffic control instructed the pilot to contact the Van Nuys tower. The pilot, Ara Zobayan, requested flight following, but the helicopter was too low. The last message from Zobayan was that he would try to climb over the clouds. The helicopter was at 2,300 feet above sea level before it started descending rapidly.
Greatest of All Time
Kobe Bryant was a legend and widely regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time. He spent 20 seasons with the Lakers, he was five-time NBA Champion, fourth-leading scorer, and two-time winning Olympic medalist, to name just a few of his accomplishments.
He wasn’t only amazing only on the court. Bryant was involved in several charities and projects, including being the ambassador for After-School All-Stars. He also founded the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation with his wife.
Kobe and Gianna are survived by Vanessa, Natalia, Bianca, and Kapri. Vanessa Bryant thanked the online communities for their thoughts and prayers in her first post after her husband’s death. “We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately,” Vanessa said in her Instagram post.
Several basketball players expressed their grief in the media. Shaquille O’Neil wrote: “There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW.”
LeBron James gave a eulogy to the legend before the first game of the Lakers after the tragedy. “The one thing that we always shared was that determination to just want to win, and just want to be great. And the fact that I’m here now means so much to me. I want to continue along with my teammates, to continue his legacy not only for this year but for as long as we can play the game of basketball because that’s what Kobe Bryant would want,” James said.