Helicopter Crash Kills Basketball Legend Kobe Bryant & His Daughter

By Naila Dasilva and Christopher Mezza

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Former Lakers player Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash that occurred Sunday morning in the fog-plagued hills of California.

The crash took place around 10 am, almost an hour after it had taken off, in the mountains of Calabasas, California. Seven other people, including Gianna’s teammates, their parents, the pilot, and her coach, were pronounced dead at the scene. 

Kobe had four children, including Gianna, with his wife Vanessa Bryant. The eldest, Victoria, is 17 and his youngest is only seven months old.  

Thousands of fans gathered near Staples Center and the crash site to pay tribute to Bryant’s passing. Bryant began his professional basketball career at age 18, after graduating high school. He spent 20 years playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, where he played 18 all-star games and won five championships. 

Millions of people, both young and old, have looked up to Bryant and felt impacted by his death. Wayne Franklin, a sophomore basketball player here at Wayne Hills, opened up about how Kobe’s death has affected him.

“The whole world was stumped because he had a great impact on the whole community. He was a great role model on and off the court,” Franklin stated.

“I’m not the biggest Kobe fan, but I had a lot of respect for him as a player and as a person,” Luke Kaplan, junior said.

Although officials have yet to release any statement on the cause of the crash, many pilots, including Robert Ditchey, say the helicopter should have never taken off in those weather conditions.

“They’re in the fog, and you’re down hugging the ground trying to fly up the highway and barely able to see it,’’ Ditchey said.

Officials say it will take a few days to assess the events that lead up to the deadly helicopter crash.

As tributes to the fallen basketball player poured in and news of his death made front-page headlines around the country, a few articles appeared reminding the public of Bryant’s brush with the law in 2003.  He was charged with rape, but the accuser ultimately dropped the charges against the Lakers’ small forward and shooting guard.  His accuser ultimately filed a civil suit but it was later dropped in exchange for an apology from Bryant.