Kobe Bryant death: Latest news, updates, reactions as Lakers legend, NBA icon dies at 41 in helicopter crash

Los Angeles Lakers icon and five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. An investigation into the crash that killed all nine people on board, including Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, is ongoing, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. 

CBS Sports will provide the latest information confirmed, as well as social media reaction, here.

Here is what has been confirmed so far:

  • A Sikorsky S-76B helicopter crashed just before 10 a.m. PT near Calabasas, California.
  • Bryant and his daughter were headed to Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, for a youth basketball event.
  • The helicopter carrying Bryant and eight others had been given special permission to fly despite foggy conditions, according to a report from the New York Times. Due to the inclement weather, the chopper was flying quite low, according to CNN, who reported, "At one point, an air traffic controller informed the pilot, "You're still too low for flight following at this time," meaning the chopper wasn't flying high enough to register on radar.
  • Nine confirmed deaths and no survivors.
  • All nine victims have been identified, according to CBS News.
  • Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were on board. 
  • John Altobelli, a champion baseball coach at Orange Coast College, was killed along with his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa. 
  • Other victims include: Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Ara Zobayan.
  • A brush fire caused by the crash prevented first responders from immediately getting to the site.
  • There was no black box in the helicopter. Having one was not a requirement. 
  • The pilot had 8,200 hours of flight time as of records submitted in July. His record, along with the records of any crew, will be examined during the investigation. 
  • The helicopter circled Glendale for 14 minutes after takeoff. The pilot proceeded to climb into the clouds before taking a sharp turn and ultimately hitting the ground.
  • Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby: "The Los Angeles County Fire Department's initial response was 15 pieces of apparatus and 56 personnel."
  • Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby: "At 9:47 a.m. the Los Angeles County Fire Department received a 911 call of a potential helicopter down and a brush fire...Upon arrival, our firefighters discovered approximately a quarter-acre brush fire that resulted from a crash on the hillside."
  • The bodies of all nine victims of Sunday's crash have been recovered according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office. They have been "transported to the department's Forensic Science Center," the coroner's department said in a statement. The final body was recovered on Tuesday. 
  • Investigators have not yet established the cause of the crash. They will examine the pilot's history, the condition of the aircraft and the weather conditions among various other things during the investigation. 
  • The Sikorsky S-76B helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant, Gianna and the seven others did not possess a recommended safety device, according to AP, though it remains unclear if it would have helped prevent the fatal accident.  

Bryant will be remembered as one of the greatest players of all time, as his resume pretty much speaks for itself. His accolades include:

  • Spent 20 seasons in the NBA, all with the Lakers
  • Fourth-leading scorer in NBA history (33,643 points)
  • Five-time NBA champion, twice named Finals MVP
  • 18-time All-Star
  • 11-time All-NBA First Team
  • Nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team
  • Two-time Olympic gold medalist
  • Youngest player in NBA history at the time of his debut in 1996
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A number of Lakers showed up wearing Kobe-themed pre-game outfits, including the only player on the roster to have played with him in the NBA (Dwight Howard).

https://twitter.com/ESPNNBA/st...

February 1, 2020, 1:37 AM

NBA, NBPA and Nike to honor Kobe and Gianna Bryant on NBA All-Star Uniforms
Official Release | January 31, 2020

NEW YORK – The NBA, NBPA and Nike announced today that the 2020 NBA All-Star uniforms will pay tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and their seven friends and teammates who tragically passed away in last Sunday's helicopter accident. The 2020 NBA All-Star Game will feature Team LeBron (James) wearing the No. 2 and Team Giannis (Antetokounmpo) wearing the No. 24 – Gianna and Kobe's basketball jersey numbers, respectively.

In addition, both teams will wear jersey patches displaying nine stars, representing those who lost their lives in the crash, including John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and Ara Zobayan. The players will wear the jerseys during the NBA All-Star Game at the United Center in Chicago on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. ET.

On Friday, Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. ET, the league's best rookies and sophomores will take the court during NBA Rising Stars, all wearing jersey patches featuring the Nos. 2 and 24 in the center surrounded by nine stars. The same patch will be worn by the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night participants competing in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, MTN DEW 3-Point Contest and AT&T Slam Dunk on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. ET.

Team LeBron and Team Giannis rosters for the 69th NBA All-Star Game will be revealed on TNT in a special 2020 NBA All-Star Draft presented by Jordan Brand show on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. ET.

To honor Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, at the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, the league has decided that every player on Team LeBron will wear jerseys featuring Gianna's No. 2 while Team Giannis will wear jerseys featuring Kobe's No. 24. In addition, all participants in All-Star weekend will wear a patch with nine stars to remember the nine victims of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant and seven others.
https://twitter.com/ByTimReyno...

More info about the crash from The New York Times:
"The helicopter had sophisticated instruments onboard that in other circumstances would allow for instrument flight, and the pilot, Ara Zobayan, was certified to fly by them. But because of the company's certification limitations, he was required to fly only in conditions of sufficient visibility to navigate visually."

Full story here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/0...

Here's a closer look at the new rules for the NBA All-Star Game in Chicago. The captains and draft will remain, but the format of the game itself will look completely different, and it will feature a special tribute to No. 24.

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January 30, 2020, 7:28 PM

The NBA is changing the All-Star Game's format in Kobe's honor.

https://twitter.com/ByTimReyno...

January 30, 2020, 7:11 PM

Lakers owner Jeanie Buss released her first statement on Bryant's death Thursday through Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7...

View this post on Instagram

Kobe, I don’t know how to express what you mean to me, my family and the Los Angeles Lakers. My father loved you like a son, which makes us family. When you invited me to lunch shortly after my father passed away, I was struggling to find motivation and purpose. Kobe, you brought Gianna with you to spend some time with me. You explained that you wanted to show her that women can be leaders in the NBA, just like the men. At first, it seemed like an action of a devoted father setting an example for his daughter. But in actuality – and I am positively sure you knew EXACTLY what you were doing – what you did was give me the inspiration and strength I was searching for. I reflect on that day often and it makes me smile and it makes me strong. I call on that memory whenever I feel down and need a bit of courage. For everything you did on the court that filled me with so much joy and love, for all the lives you changed through basketball itself, it was that day with Gigi that reignited my drive and determination. Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri - I am so sorry for your loss. We are grateful to have you in our lives and we will always be here for you. To the families that also lost loved ones on Sunday, the entire Laker family mourns with you. Laker Nation - we are one family grieving the loss of people we all loved dearly. We will mourn together, cry together but we will also heal together, love together and win TOGETHER. We love you. : : : To learn more about how you can help the families affected by this tragedy go to MambaOnThree.org and to further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports visit MambaSportsFoundation.org #peace #love #joy #family #Mamba #Mambacita #2 #8 #24 : : Picture taken in February 2016 on the way to #NBAAllStar game in #Toronto

A post shared by Jeanie Buss (@jeaniebuss) on

January 30, 2020, 5:36 PM

Official statement from the Los Angeles Lakers on Kobe Bryant's death:

We are devastated and have been forever changed by the sudden loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. We send our love to Vanessa, the Bryant family, and to the families of the other passengers.

Words cannot express what Kobe means to the Los Angeles Lakers, our fans, and our city. More than a basketball player, he was a beloved father, husband, and teammate. Their love and light will remain in our hearts forever.

The Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to support the families affected by this tragedy. To help, please visit MambaOnThree.org. For those who are inspired to continue Kobe and Gianna's legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org

Utah Jazz rookie Miyi Oye, a Los Angeles native, just became the latest player to change his number to pay tribute to the legacy of Kobe Bryant.
https://www.cbssports.com/nba/...

Vanessa Bryant, Kobe's wife, speaks about the death of her husband and daughter for the first time on Instagram since Sunday's tragic helicopter crash that killed a total of nine people.

View this post on Instagram

My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. 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. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org. To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org. Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family ❤️

A post shared by Vanessa Bryant 🦋 (@vanessabryant) on

Lakers coach Frank Vogel spoke to the media after shootaround on Wednesday and said that since Kobe Bryant's death the team got together that were "therapeutically beneficial." The Lakers game against the Clippers that was supposed to be on Tuesday was postponed in order to give the Laker organization time to grieve, and while the team did do some practice, Vogel said he wanted everyone to come in mentally free, and just "be around each other." The time the Lakers have spent together over the past few days has brought the team closer together in the wake of the tragic events that took place on Sunday.

Paul George shared how much Kobe Bryant meant to him growing up, and Kawhi Leonard reveals that Bryant was one of the first people he talked to after he won the championship last season in Toronto.

Charlotte Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak said that the draft-night deal to send Kobe Bryant to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996 almost never happened. If it weren't for the determination of Bryant's agent at the time, Arn Tellum, and then-Lakers GM Jerry West, Kobe might've never worn the purple and gold.

"There was such excitement around the pick that Charlotte actually didn't want to go through with the deal," Kupchak said via the Charlotte Observer. "There was a time there, whether it was Vlade Divac threatening to retire] or just pressure on the franchise, where the deal was actually in jeopardy."

Frank Vogel was the only member of the Los Angeles Lakers who spoke to the media after practice Wednesday afternoon. He told reporters that the team "wants to represent what Kobe was about," and that the franchise "always wanted to make him proud."

Kawhi Leonard knew the pilot, Ara Zobayan, that died in the helicopter crash with Kobe Bryant on Sunday, and said he was a "good dude." When asked if Sunday's events will make him think twice before flying in a helicopter again, Leonard said he couldn't speak on that at the moment, and that there's "a lot of thoughts" going on in his head right now.

Rick Fox says his phone was ringing non-stop after inaccurate reports surfaced that included him as one of the victims in Sunday's fatal helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others. Fox said that the false claims of him being on the helicopter "shook a lot of people" in his life.

Carmelo Anthony mourns Kobe Bryant in an emotional Instagram post, recalling memories and the close friendship the two had

Former NBA great Jerry West, who was responsible for bringing Kobe Bryant to the Lakers in 19996, shared his fondest Kobe memories last night and called the tragedy the "saddest day of my life." He also shared a story about how he helped convinced Bryant to stay with the Lakers and not join the Clippers while he was the GM of the Memphis Grizzlies.

January 29, 2020, 4:47 PM
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