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Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna among 9 killed in helicopter crash

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Kobe Bryant remembered as NBA legend & father

Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Sunday, officials said. Bryant, who won five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, is widely considered one of the best players in NBA history.

In his retirement, the 41-year-old Bryant ran his production company and coached his daughter's middle school team.

John Altobelli, the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College, was killed along with his wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa. Christina Mauser, a girl's basketball coach, also died in the crash.

Recovery and official identification of the bodies could take days due to the terrain and the condition of the crash site, said Dr. Jonathan Lucas, Los Angeles County's chief medical examiner. Audio posted to ATC.com from air traffic control indicated that conditions were deteriorating ahead of the crash.

 

Michael Jordan says Bryant "was like a little brother to me"

All-time NBA great Michael Jordan says "words can't describe the pain" he's feeling over the death of Kobe Bryant.

Jordan issued a statement through his agent and spokesperson, Estee Portnoy:

Jordan also retweeted a tribute from Nike, with whom both icons have long been associated:

By Brian Dakss
 

Naomi Osaka: "Thank you for existing"

Tennis star Naomi Osaka tweeted a letter she wrote to Bryant as her way of expressing grief:

By Brian Dakss
 

Recovery and official identification could take days

Chief medical examiner Dr. Jonathan Lucas said recovery and official identification of the bodies could take days due to the terrain and the condition of the crash site.   

Los Angeles County Sheriff  Alex Villaneuva asked mourners to stay away from the crash site, since it is in "very rough terrain, even in daylight, much less in the middle of the night." Villaneuva called the site a "logistical nightmare."

The FAA has secured a 5-mile flight restriction for the area of the crash site and a 5,000-foot ceiling above it, Villanueva said. The NTSB is on its way to the scene.

By Caroline Linton
 

Grammy performers have Bryant jersey on stage

Lil Nas X with Kobe jersey — Grammy Awards 2020
Lil Nas X performs during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Getty

Lil Nas X started the performance of "Old Town Road" with a #24 Bryant jersey on stage. Nas was then joined by an all-star cast including Billy Ray Cyrus, Diplo, Mason Ramsey and BTS

Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. performed "Walk This Way" at the Grammys, with a member of Run DMC.'s entourage holding up a #24 Lakers jersey. Run DMC. also paid tribute to their late band member, Jam Master Jay, who died  in 2002, by using his logo as a backdrop.

Run DMC — Grammy Awards 2020
Darryl "DMC" McDaniels of Run DMC, DJ Ruckus and DJ Charlie Chan perform onstage during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. Getty
By Caroline Linton
 

Magic Johnson: "I thought he was going to live forever"

Magic Johnson describes Kobe Bryant's deep love for the Lakers

NBA legend Magic Johnson spoke movingly about Bryant's legacy on and off the court in an emotional phone interview with CBS Los Angeles. 

"I thought he was going to live forever. I thought he was invincible," said Johnson. "He played like that. He walked like that. He was a confident young man."

In the heartfelt tribute, Johnson shared moments that he had with Bryant, and reflected on their relationship, his impact on the city of Los Angeles and his role as a father.

"We will always remember what Kobe Bryant did on the court. We will remember what he did off the court and for the city. I do not think right now that we can put it into words what he meant for Los Angeles. I will miss him," Johnson shared.

"When you put on that uniform, the Laker uniform, there was nobody who took more pride in being a Laker than Kobe. It was amazing."

Johnson played point guard for the Lakers for 13 seasons before he retired. Bryant played all 20 seasons with the Lakers, winning three consecutive championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

"We need Kobe to be around. And our kids who idolized him. And the fan base who idolized him. There was more for him to do. He died way too early. And he left quite a legacy," Johnson said.

"He was special. God created the special basketball player and the special man. We will miss him, " he continued. "He impacted the world. And very few athletes get to impact the world like Kobe Bryant did."

By Chevaz Clarke
 

Shaquille O'Neal tweets "there's no words"

Shaquille O'Neal, Bryant's teammate on the Lakers, tweeted "there's no words" and that he is "crying right now." He also tweeted photos of the two of them together.

By Caroline Linton
 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: "This loss is just hard to comprehend"

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar reacts to Kobe Bryant's death

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the all-time NBA leading scorer, posted a video of his reaction to Bryant's death. Abdul-Jabbar said he had known Bryant's father and had known Bryant since he was young. 

"It's hard for me to understand how this is affecting Joe and his wife," Abdul-Jabbar said. "So to Kobe's family, I want to send my most sincere and heartfelt regrets and prayers and my thoughts are with you guys. Kobe was an incredible family man  — he loved his wife and daughters, he was an incredible athlete and a leader in a lot of ways — he inspired a whole generation of young athletes."

Abdul-Jabbar said he was at the 2006 game when Bryant scored 81 points. "I will always remember as one of the highlights of one of things I have learned and observed in sports," Abdul-Jabbar said. 

By Caroline Linton
 

NBA commissioner Adam Silver: "The NBA family is devastated"

NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement mourning Bryant: 

The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.

For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning.  He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary:  five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals.  But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.  He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna. 

We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world.

By Caroline Linton
 

"He means a lot to me," says Doc Rivers while choking back tears

Clippers coach Doc Rivers mourns Kobe Bryant
By Caroline Linton
 

Former Lakers general manager Jerry West: "I felt like I lost a son"

"I felt like I lost a son": Former Lakers general manager Jerry West on Kobe Bryant's death
By Caroline Linton
 

Dwyane Wade: "I'm going to miss our friendship"

Retired Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade posted tributes to Bryant on his Instagram Story. 

"Today is one of the saddest days in my lifetime," Wade said. "This seems like a bad dream that you just want to wake up from. It's a nightmare. I know we are from the same way, and just a great leader, a great champion, a great person. If you got the chance to know Kobe, to really know Kobe, there ain't nobody better, man. Emotions are all over the place —  these are the moments where ask why." 

Wade then posted clips in the Story of him and Bryant together, photos of them and also photos of Bryant and Gianna. 

"My heart goes out to Kobe's family," Wade continued. "His daughter Gigi, this is a sad day."There's no way around it. My family and I have been sharing Kobe stories. We have so many moments that he's given us. I'm so thankful for those moments. I'm so thankful for those moments, man. He's one of my favorite players.  I got a chance to have a relationship, a friendship. I'm going to miss our friendship." 

Wade said he "chased" Bryant when came in the league and that he wanted to be respected by him.

"You're our legend, you're our icon, you're our father, you're our husband, our son, our brother, our friend," Wade said. "Thank you for being my friend." 

By Caroline Linton
 

NBA players call for the league to retire No. 24

Several NBA stars are calling for the league to retire the number 24 to honor Kobe Bryant. Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, Miami Heat rookie Tyler Herro and Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson were among the players voicing support for the change.

Toronto Raptors player Norman Powell, who wears 24, reportedly said he would support such a decision by the league.

The late NBA legend changed his number from 8 to 24 during the 2006 season. Bryant said it was a "clean slate" after Shaquille O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004.

By Justin Carissimo
 

NTSB will send 18-member "go team" to the crash site to investigate

The National Transportation Safety Board said they will be sending an 18-member "go team" to the crash site to investigate. The helicopter went down in a mountainous area.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said they will increase police presence at the helicopter site and surrounding areas, as crowds continue to gather and grow in size.

By Caroline Linton
 

LAPD says they grounded their helicopters Sunday morning

Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Josh Rubenstein confirmed Sunday night they had grounded the department's Air Support division grounded its helicopters in the morning due to foggy conditions and didn't fly until later in the afternoon.

"The weather situation did not meet our minimum standards for flying," Rubenstein said.

The fog "was enough that we were not flying." He said the police department's are two miles of visibility and an 800-foot cloud ceiling. The department typically flies two helicopters when conditions allow — one in the San Fernando Valley and one in the L.A. basin, he said.

By Caroline Linton
 

Trae Young honors Bryant by wearing #8 at beginning of Hawks game

Washington Wizards v Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks is seen wearing a jersey with the number 8 on it in memory of Kobe Bryant as the Washington Wizards hold the ball for a 24 second violation after tip off at State Farm Arena on January 26, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia.  Kevin C. Cox / Getty

Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young wore #8, one of Bryant's old numbers, at the start of the Hawks' game in tribute. In a heartfelt tweet, he posted "thank you Kobe."

Gianna Bryant considered the 21-year-old Young to be her favorite player, according to CBS Sports. Kobe Bryant attended only three games this season, and two of them involved Young. He introduced Gianna to Young at one of the games.

By Caroline Linton
 

Santa Monica Pier and LAX light up in tribute to Kobe

By Caroline Linton
 

Audio from air traffic control indicates conditions were deteriorating

ATC.com posted audio from air traffic control, which indicated conditions were deteriorating. The pilot told air traffic control that he would be following along Los Angeles freeways he navigated his way toward Calabasas because visibility was low.

The pilot is heard talking to the towers at Burbank and Van Nuys airports asking for clearance to pass through. The chopper was flying through under special visual flight rule conditions.

Air traffic control told the pilot the helicopter was flying too low for air traffic control to track him with radar. This should not be interpreted that air traffic control was telling the pilot the helicopter was too low — just that it could not be tracked. 

There is no indication there was a distress call, a mayday call or a declaration of emergency.

By Kris Van Cleave
 

Lizzo gives emotional speech about uncertainty of life

Lizzo Wins Best Pop Solo Performance At 2020 GRAMMY Awards by CBS on YouTube

In her speech after winning Best Pop Solo for "Truth Hurts," Lizzo gave an emotional speech that touched on the uncertainty of life.

"This whole week, I've been lost in my problems, stressed out, and then in an instant, all of that can go away and your priorities really shift. And today, all of my little problems that I thought were big as the world were gone and I realized there's people hurting right now. You guys beautiful music, you guys create connectivity — and as I'm speaking to all of y'all in the room, this is the beginning of making music that moves people again, making music that liberates people."

Lizzo said if she "hadn't reached out," she would not have met her best friends and "I don't know where I'd be, sleeping in my car." And she wouldn't have been connected with Atlantic Records.

"Thank you so much for lifting me up," she said. "Let's continue to reach out, hold each other down and lift each other up."

By Caroline Linton
 

Dallas Mavericks will retire No. 24

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on Sunday said his team would retire the number 24 to honor Kobe Bryant. "Kobe was an ambassador for our game, a decorated legend and a global icon. Above all, he was a loving and dedicated father," Cuban said in a statement.

"Kobe's legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick."

By Justin Carissimo
 

Alicia Keys: "The whole wide world lost a hero"

Alicia Keys Pays Tribute To Kobe Bryant In 2020 GRAMMY Awards Opening by CBS on YouTube

Grammys host Alicia Keys started the awards show saying everyone is feeling "crazy sadness right now," saying "the whole wide world lost a hero."

"Right now, Kobe and his daughter, Gianna, and all of those that have been tragically lost today are in our spirit, they're in our hearts, they're in our prayers," she said. "They're in this building. I would like to ask everybody to take a moment and just hold them inside of you. Hold them inside of you. And share our strength and our support with their families."

By Caroline Linton
 

"Tonight is for Kobe," Lizzo says at start of Grammys

Before starting her performance of "Cuz I Love You" at the Grammys, Lizzo said "tonight is for Kobe!" 

Host Alicia Keys also paid tribute to Kobe Bryant at the top of the award show, noting, "We're literally standing here, heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built."

Boyz II Men then joined Keys onstage and sang "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye."

Alicia Keys, Boyz II Men — Grammys 2020
Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men sing in memory of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on January 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. Getty
By Caroline Linton
 

Girls' basketball coach Christina Mauser killed in crash

Christina Mauser, a girls' basketball coach, died in the helicopter crash, the Costa Mesa mayor tweeted. Mauser was married to Tijuana Dogs musician Matt Mauser.

"This devastating tragedy gets worse by the hour," Mayor Katrina Foley tweeted. "So much pain for so many local families. Our hearts are broken & grieving for the families impacted.

By Caroline Linton
 

Orange Coast College head baseball coach John Altobelli among the victims

Orange Coast College head baseball coach John Altobelli also died in the crash, the school said in a statement. His wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa, were also killed, CBS Los Angeles reported. 

"I got a text message from my older brother asking if I had heard about Kobe's chopper incident. He didn't even know that they had been on that chopper. I didn't hear anything about it. I started checking internets and everything was completely overloaded," the victim's brother, Tony Altobelli, told CBS Los Angeles.

"To look at this field is the perfect testament to my brother. This field was not in the greatest shape when he took over the program and it's now one of the top programs in the nation," Altobelli told CBS Los Angeles. "It's a legacy that unfortunately was cut off way too short."

"John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball," says Coast Athletic Director Jason Kehler. "He truly personified what it means to be a baseball coach. The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none - he treated them like family. Our deepest condolences go out to the Altobelli family during this time of tragedy." 

 Altobelli worked at Orange Coast College for 27 years, the school said.  

"We have lost a member of our OCC family, and our hearts are broken," says OCC President Angelica Suarez. "Coach Altobelli was a giant on our campus - a beloved teacher, coach, colleague and friend. This is a tremendous loss for our campus community."  

By Caroline Linton
 

9 people were on board the helicopter, sheriff says

The Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a press conference that nine bodies were found at the scene of the crash.  Villanueva would not confirm the identities of anyone on board, saying the remains are still being identified. 

"We have a manifest that indicates there were nine people onboard the aircraft," Villanueva said. "The pilot plus eight individuals."  

By Caroline Linton
 

Obama: "Kobe was a legend on the court"

Former President Obama called Bryant a "legend on the court" in a tweet memorializing Bryant.

Mr. Obama is famous for his love of basketball, and Bryant visited him at the White House in 2015.

"What I took away is that they had run this campaign where what they stood for was connecting people," Bryant told Politico in 2017. "In sports, you get better by working in the gym. I wanted to know how he got better, from managing his schedule to what he reads. And because he gets sports, and we can talk about that, too, it makes it easier to have that connection."

By Caroline Linton
 

Raptors let shot clock run out to honor Bryant

At the Raptors-Spurs game, the Raptors let the shot clock run out for 24 seconds to honor Bryant, who wore number 24.

By Caroline Linton
 

Kobe Bryant, one of NBA's greatest players of all time, on board helicopter that crashed

Kobe Bryant, one of the NBA's all-time greatest players, was one of nine people on board a helicopter that crashed Sunday in Calabasas, California, city officials said. 

The FAA and the NTSB will be investigating the cause of the crash, the city of Calabasas said.

By Caroline Linton
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