The Life And Legacy Of Kobe Bryant...Rest In Peace

The Mamba has left the building. Kobe Bryant has died. The 41-year-old was among the nine killed in a helicopter crash yesterday morning in Calabasas, California. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also on-board. They were on their way to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks for basketball practice.

Kobe was known to travel by helicopter. During his career, he would commute from Newport Beach, California to the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles in his Sikorsky S-76 chopper. 

There's no official word on what went wrong, but TMZ says the weather was "extremely foggy," and that WAS a factor. In fact, law enforcement sources say the LAPD's air support was even grounded because of the fog. The crash happened at 9:45 A.M. TMZ has looked at flight tracker data, and it shows Kobe's chopper first encountered weather issues over L.A., and it circled one area at least six times at a very low altitude, possibly waiting for the fog to clear. The pilot contacted air traffic control for help, but they were flying too low for them to track the flight on radar.  After encountering more heavy fog, the chopper turned toward a mountainous area. The pilot suddenly and rapidly climbed from about 1,200 feet up to 2,000 feet, then flew into a mountain at 1,700 feet

Kobe was born in Philadelphia but grew up in Italy where his father played basketball. Kobe joined the NBA right after graduating high school. He was 18 years and 72 days old, he was the youngest person to ever play in the league.

He spent his 20-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the third all-time scorer in the NBA until Saturday when he was surpassed by LeBron James.

The Lakers have retired BOTH of his jerseys, Numbers 8 and 24. He was a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, and two years ago, he won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. It's called"Dear Basketball", and Kobe wrote it.

He scored 81 points in one game in 2006 that's the second-most all-time, and the most in the modern era, and didn't even play in the 4th quarter of that game! He also won five NBA championships. When he retired in 2016, in 2016, he set another record by making 60 points in his final game. 

He leaves behind his wife, Vanessa, and three other daughters – Natalia (17), Bianka (3) and Capri (7 months).


(photo Getty Images)

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