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Basketball Legend Kobe Bryant, 41, And 13-Year-Old Daughter Gianna Die In Helicopter Crash

By Todd Kortemeier | Jan. 26, 2020, 2:53 p.m. (ET)

Kobe Bryant looks on at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 on Aug. 24, 2008 in Beijing.


UPDATE: The below has been updated to reflect the confirmation that Gianna Bryant, 13, also died in the helicopter crash.


People around the world were shocked and saddened on Sunday by reports that two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. He was 41. Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna also died in the crash.

There were nine people in the helicopter; the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office reported there were no survivors. Bryant frequently traveled by helicopter in his playing days, commuting from his home in Newport Beach to the STAPLES Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, for whom he played his entire career.

The loss is a massive one for the basketball and sports community at large. Bryant was a two-time Olympic gold medalist with Team USA, at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Bryant was a leader on the 2008 team that became known as the “Redeem Team” for winning it all in the aftermath of a disappointment of a bronze medal in 2004. Bryant returned as a team captain for 2012, helping to deliver a repeat gold medal. He retired from international play following the tournament.

One of the greatest scorers in NBA history, Bryant was an 18-time All-Star and retired in 2016 with 33,643 points. Third all time at the time of his retirement, Bryant’s mark was passed Saturday night by current Lakers player LeBron James.

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James spoke about the significance of passing Bryant while wearing the same uniform he once did.

“I'm happy just to be in any conversation with Kobe Bean Bryant, one of the all-time greatest basketball players to ever play, one of the all-time greatest Lakers,” James told ESPN. “The man has two jerseys hanging up in STAPLES Center. It's just crazy.”

Bryant wore both No. 8 and No. 24 in his career, and the Lakers retired both, the only player in team history so honored. Replica jerseys with both numbers were extremely popular with fans both during and after his playing career.

Bryant was seen courtside at STAPLES Center recently talking basketball with Gianna, a budding basketball star in her own right who had hopes of playing for UConn.

They are survived by his wife Vanessa and daughters Natalia, 17; Bianka, 3; and Capri, 7 months.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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