Kobe Bryant, one of basketball’s greatest players and most masterful scorers of all time, was among the passengers who died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
Bryant was 41. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in an afternoon news conference the passenger manifest for the helicopter indicated nine people were onboard. There were no survivors. Early reports said five people were aboard.
Villanueva declined to confirm any identities, saying he would wait for the coroner. Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna was also killed in the crash, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
The person, who was granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the matter, said Gianna and her father were en route to an AAU basketball game Sunday morning when the helicopter crashed.
On Feb. 8, the Lakers will pay tribute to Bryant with a bronze statue at Star Plaza outside of Crypto.com Arena. “Since arriving in this city and joining the Lakers organization, he felt at home here, playing in the City of Angels,”
Vanessa Bryant said in a statement. “On behalf of the Lakers, my daughters and me, I am so honored that, right in the center of Los Angeles, in front of the place known as the house that Kobe built, we are going to unveil his statue so that his legacy can be celebrated forever.”
He will join six other Lakers who have a statue outside of the arena: Elgin Baylor, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West and Chick Hearn. “Kobe Bryant was one of the most extraordinary athletes of all time, and one of the most iconic individuals in the history of
Los Angeles,” Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said. “There is no better place for Kobe to be honored with a statue than here, at the center of our city, where everyone can celebrate him and be inspired by his incredible achievements.”