NBA legend outpouring of grief for a star whose celebrity transcended basketball., his daughter and seven others were killed Sunday when their helicopter crashed into a hillside in dense fog in Calabasas, California. Bryant's sudden death at age 41 touched off an
The passengers were on their way to a basketball game when the chopper went down. The helicopter was flying in foggy conditions considered dangerous enough that local police agencies grounded their choppers.
The helicopter's flight path shows it going from Orange County to the San Fernando Valley and then hovering over the Glendale area as it waited for clearance to travel through the Valley to Calabasas. The tracking ends at the crash site in Calabasas.
In addition to the NBA legend and his daughter, the victims included a highly-regarded baseball coach and three young athletes.
Here is a look at the nine people who died in the crash:
An 18-time NBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist who won five NBA championships,was the league MVP in 2008 and a two-time NBA scoring champion. He also won an Academy Award in 2018 for his contributions to "Dear Basketball," an animated short about his relationship to the game.
Bryant spent the early years of his life in Italy, where his father played professional basketball after his own NBA career.
He was drafted out of high school in 1996 at 17 years old, becoming the youngest player in NBA history. The 6-foot-6 swingman gave himself the nickname "Black Mamba," a testament to his fierce, competitive nature.
Bryant spent 20 legendary seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning three consecutive championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002. He went on to win two more in 2009 and 2010, before retiring in 2016. He remained involved with basketball even after his retirement by coaching his daughter Gianna's basketball team.
Bryant's 13-year old daughter Gianna was among those killed. Gianna — often called "Gigi" — was the second oldest of Bryant's four daughters. Bryant had coached Gianna's AAU basketball team out of his Mamba Sports Academy training facility in Thousand Oaks for the past two years.
"It's a lot of fun. I mean, she's really driven, very competitive ... and we have a group of kids that love the game," Bryant toldlast year. "They have an appetite to learn more. And so, I enjoy being around them."
When asked about the biggest challenge of coaching his daughter, Bryant said: "Making sure she knows that I love her whether she plays well or plays like crap. Doesn't matter. You know, you're my daughter before you're a basketball player. It's important that she knows that that's how I feel," he said.
"Those aren't words. You have to behave that way. You have to show her that. After a tough game, you get in the car and it's forgotten."
John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli and Alyssa Altobelli
John Altobelli was the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. His wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa were also on board.
"It's hard to put into words what this loss means to the college and the athletics department," Orange Coast College Athletics Director Jason Kehler said.
"John was a tremendous coach and an even better friend. Beyond that, he was an amazing mentor to all of the students and athletes that he taught and coached. He treated them all like family and his impact will live on forever," he added.
Altobelli was a former coach of the Brewster Whitecaps on Cape Cod. Altobelli also managed players who eventually made the big leagues, including Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, CBS Boston reported.
Alyssa Altobelli played on the same basketball team as Bryant's daughter. In a November Instagram post, Kobe Bryant praised Altobelli's defense in a game. John, Keri, and Alyssa are survived by the couple's two other children, Lexi and J.J., according to the statement from Orange Coast College.
Theposted on Facebook that she died in the helicopter crash. Mauser was a basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, where Kobe's daughter attended school.
"I got three small kids, and I'm trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom," Mauser said Monday on the "Today Show."
Mauser said both he and his wife were close with Bryant. "He saw what an amazing mind [Christina] had for basketball," Mauser said. "She was an amazing mind of defense for basketball, so he brought her on. They called her the mother of defense, 'MOD.'"
Sarah Chester and Payton Chester
Sarah Chester and her middle school-aged daughter Payton were on also on board. Payton was a teammate of Gianna Bryant's.
"Sarah and Payton were the lights of our family," the Chesters said in a statement released Monday. "Payton had a smile and personality that would light any room, and a passion for the game of basketball. She found joy on any court and loved all of her teammates and coaches.
"Sarah was full of life and the glue of our family. She was a tireless force in support of her family. The love we feel from so many today is a testament to the community she created for us."
Sarah Chester's brother, Andy George, described her to the Orange County Register as "the one that everybody counted on."
"She was there for everyone," he said. "She was everything to her family, to our family. Anytime I needed anything, she was the person I went to."
He said Payton was "the gentlest person you would ever meet." Sarah is survived by her husband Chris and her two sons, Hayden and Riley, according to the Register.
A man the Register identified as the former principal at Payton's elementary school posted a tribute to the pair on Facebook: "While the world mourns the loss of a dynamic athlete and humanitarian, I mourn the loss of two people just as important. Their impact was just as meaningful, their loss will be just as keenly felt, and our hearts are just as broken."
The helicopter was piloted by Ara Zobayan. According to the FAA, he received his commercial pilot certificate in 2007.
Zobayan was qualified to fly in bad weather conditions, according to FAA records cited by The Washington Post. He was also qualified to teach others how to fly in bad weather.
Darren Kemp told the Los Angeles Times that Zobayan was his flight teacher and Bryant's private pilot. He said when he heard Bryant had died in the crash, he knew Zobayan was with him.
"He doesn't let anyone else fly him around but Ara," Kemp said, according to the outlet.
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