LOS ANGELES – The NBA has lost a legend.
As first reported by TMZ Sports and later confirmed by ABC 7′s Curt Sandoval, longtime Lakers star Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash near his home in Calabasas, California Sunday morning. Five passengers are confirmed dead, including his oldest daughter, Gianna. He was 41.
A first-round pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, Bryant delivered a Hall of Fame career. In his 20 seasons with the Lakers, Bryant was a five-time NBA Champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 18-time All Star and was voted the league’s MVP in 2008. Both of his jerseys, Nos. 8 and 24, were retired and currently hang in the rafters at Staples Center. He is the only player in Lakers history to receive that honor.
Bryant retired as the third-leading scorer in NBA history, a mark that stood until LeBron James passed him for third all-time in Philadelphia on Saturday night.
In addition to his dominance on the basketball court, Bryant expanded his reach toward the media realm, winning an Oscar in 2018 for his short film, “Dear Basketball.”
Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa and three daughters -- Natalia, Bianca and Capri.
Kobe Bryant has passed away at age 41.— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 26, 2020
Our thoughts are with his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/G3IUEcRMyy
Devastated.— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) January 26, 2020