Kobe Bryant, the NBA MVP who had a 20-year career with the Lakers, was killed Sunday when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed and burst into flames in the hills above Calabasas. His daughter Gianna, 13, was also on board and died along with seven others.
Clippers, who usually cover Lakers logos at Staples Center, to display Kobe Bryant’s jerseys
Intent on creating their own identity, the Clippers usually cover the Lakers’ banners and retired jersey numbers for their home games at Staples Center.
But for the Clippers’ game against Sacramento on Thursday — the first NBA contest to be played in the arena since the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash in Calabasas on Sunday — the Clippers left Bryant’s retired jerseys uncovered and on display high above the floor.
The rest of the Lakers’ championship banners and retired jerseys were covered by the usual images of Clipper players and a city landscape but Bryant’s 8 and 24 stood out on a stark black background.
A moment of silence is scheduled for just past 7:33 p.m.
The hockey Kings on Wednesday played the first sporting event at Staples Center after Bryant’s death. Players honored him by wearing his jersey to the arena and commemorative decals on their helmets, and the team remembered him in a pregame ceremony.
How Kobe Bryant changed the sneaker world
Michael Jordan was professional basketball’s first signature shoe king, but Kobe Bryant was arguably his heir apparent, as crucial and challenging to the brand he represented — Nike — as he famously was with his Lakers teammates on the court.
Jordan made sneakers cool, but Bryant changed the shoes themselves, creating the market in minimalist, low-silhouette footwear in a league in which everyone was still lacing up their high tops to protect their ankles.
That led to a succession of NBA superstars adopting the same lighter, quicker shoe style, which helped liberate their moves on the hardwood. It happened soon after Bryant left Adidas to sign a four-year, $40-million deal with Nike in 2003, then pushed the company to build a basketball shoe as sleek and safe as those worn in professional soccer.
Mariachi band says farewell to Kobe Bryant with ‘Amor Eterno’ tearjerker
As the world continues to mourn the death of Kobe Bryant and eight others, the tributes to the late basketball great keep getting more heart-wrenching.
Amid a massive crowd outside Staples Center this week, a mariachi troupe gathered to honor Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and the other seven lives lost with a poignant rendition of “Amor Eterno,” a goodbye ballad by the late Mexican singer Juan Gabriel.
Gigi and Kobe Bryant befriended a small-town basketball star and her trainer dad
Hailey Van Lith lives basketball in her tiny town — Cashmere, Wash., population 3,152 — and as the nation’s No. 1 guard and No. 2 overall player on the women’s basketball ranking site Prospects Nation, the 18-year-old knows a bit about celebrity and fame.
But last summer, as she waited in a Thailand airport after a Team USA game, she wasn’t prepared for a message from basketball legend Kobe Bryant.
“The text was from one of Kobe’s main guys — I called him ‘T,’ and he just basically said that Kobe knew about me, loved my game and really wanted to get me to L.A. to work with him and talk about basketball,” Hailey said in a phone interview Monday as she drove to practice at Cashmere High School.
Basketball star, Oscar winner and ... rapper? Remembering Kobe Bryant’s music career
Bryant’s solo single, “K.O.B.E.,” which debuted at the 2000 All-Star game, featured supermodel Tyra Banks and referenced his baller reputation in the lyrics.
“What I live for? Basketball, beats and broads,” he raps on the track, his flow not particularly smooth or lyrical. “From Italy to the U.S., yes, it’s raw.”
Writing for The Times in 2015, Dexter Thomas wasn’t exactly impressed by the song.
“It’s embarrassing. That cheap-sounding beat, the uninspired hook, the awkward chorus — this is more off-target than those three airballs he threw in 1997 against the Utah Jazz,” he wrote.
While shooting an accompanying video for the splashy release, directed by BET Award winner Hype Williams, Bryant met his wife, Vanessa. And though their personal relationship would continue to develop for the next 20 years, footage from their professional collaboration never saw the light of day.
Despite Bryant’s rising star power on the court, the song was not well-received, and “Visions,” the album it was slated to launch, was eventually shelved. Bryant officially got the ax from Sony soon enough, never to return to music again — except in a 2011 Taiwanese Sprite commercial and, of course, in other musicians’ lyrics, which often saluted the self-proclaimed Black Mamba and his larger-than-life legacy.
Kawhi Leonard flew with Ara Zobayan often: ‘He was one of the best pilots’
The pilot involved in the helicopter crash Sunday that killed former Lakers star Kobe Bryant and eight others also flew Kawhi Leonard often and was regarded highly by the Clippers superstar.
“Great guy, super nice,” Leonard said Wednesday of Ara Zobayan, a pilot from Huntington Beach who flew for the charter service Island Express. “He was one of the best pilots. That is a guy who you ask for to fly you from city to city. It’s just surreal still.”
Leonard was close with Bryant, saying their relationship began during his second or third season in the NBA. Last summer, Bryant hosted Leonard, Clippers teammate Paul George and a handful of other players at his Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks. One piece of advice Leonard sought from Bryant last summer, after signing with the Clippers as a free agent, was how Bryant used a helicopter often to cut down his commute to and from his home in Newport Beach.
Leonard, last season, purchased a house in Rancho Santa Fe, north of San Diego. (In December, Leonard also purchased a penthouse near Staples Center.)
Kawhi called Kobe’s pilot, Ara Zobayan, a “good dude” and used him to fly to and from games. He also discussed if this gives him any pause to keep using helicopters. pic.twitter.com/ao82V555h8— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) January 29, 2020
“I talked to him about it before our transition to playing in L.A, just seeing how [he] got back and forth from Newport and he said he was doing it for about 17 years or so,” Leonard said. “Yeah, same pilot, everything, the whole situation, this whole program, the setup, how he was traveling back and forth was the same way I was getting here from San Diego.” Asked whether the crash gave him pause to continue to using helicopters, Leonard was unsure.
“The things that you hear, you don’t know what’s real yet,” he said. “I can’t really speak on it. I don’t know. I don’t know yet. It’s a lot of thoughts in my head.”
Zobayan, 50, had a commercial certificate and was a certified flight instructor with 8,200 hours of flight time as of July, said Jennifer Homendy, a National Transportation Safety Board member.
“[Zobayan] will drop me off and say he is about go pick up Kobe. ‘Kobe said hello.’ Or he’ll just be like, ‘I just dropped Kobe off and he said hello.’ Vice versa. So, it’s a crazy interaction. He’s a good dude and I’m sorry for everybody.”
Clippers’ Lou Williams on Kobe Bryant, being a #GirlDad
Kobe Bryant’s influence will be ‘felt forever,’ Lakers coach Frank Vogel says
Lakers coach Frank Vogel talks about Kobe Bryant.
After their practice in El Segundo on Wednesday morning, the Lakers gave their players the option of speaking to reporters about the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. They decided to continue to mourn in private.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel stepped forward to make the first public comments from a member of the organization since a helicopter carrying Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others crashed into a Calabasas hillside Sunday morning, killing all aboard.
Vogel said he told the players they could talk when they’re ready and not a moment before.
As Vogel addressed the media, LeBron James was nearby on the practice court, hoisting up jumpers.
“We want to represent what Kobe was about more than anything,” said Vogel, who acknowledged there were some questions he may not be ready to address at this time.
“He was the most feared man in the league for an entire generation.… His influence will be felt forever.”
The Lakers display retired numbers on two walls above their practice gym. On Wednesday, Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 were lit up.
Lights on Kobe jersey at Lakers facility pic.twitter.com/nK5wWvDJgU— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) January 29, 2020
The team was flying home from Philadelphia on Sunday morning when they learned about the crash. Players became emotional as they heard the news and Vogel addressed them once he heard. The team canceled practice on Monday, though a few players trickled into the facility.
The franchise waited until Monday afternoon to release any statement regarding Bryant’s death out of respect for his widow, Vanessa, and his three surviving daughters.
But the Lakers have also needed time to process and grieve the loss of a legend.
“We’ve become a family in a very short time,” Vogel said.
The organization has been reeling since Sunday morning. General manager Rob Pelinka was one of Bryant’s closest friends and Gianna’s godfather.
Lakers executives, including owner Jeanie Buss and Linda Rambis, spent time at the team facility on Sunday and Monday. Buss lost her mother and a close friend, former NBA Commissioner David Stern, in the last six weeks. Monday would have been her father’s 87th birthday.
The Lakers were planning to honor Jerry Buss during Tuesday’s game against the Clippers, before Sunday’s crash changed everything, leading the NBA to postpone the game.
On Monday, the team brought in grief counselors, who were made available to employees, according to a person familiar with the situation. Bryant’s history with many of them was long. He joined the organization in 1996, as a 17-year-old ready to take over the basketball world.
No formal plans have been made on how to honor Bryant, but the Lakers created a space Sunday for fans to gather and hold a vigil outside their facility. They provided a large white canvas with a watermarked image of Bryant leaned against the wall for fans to sign, using Sharpies distributed by the Lakers. It was nearly full by Monday afternoon, and enough fans have visited since to fill up two more.
On Wednesday morning, a fourth canvas was unfurled outside the facility, where one fan stood with a fresh bouquet of flowers.
Clippers’ Paul George on Kobe Bryant: ‘He was my Michael Jordan’
Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard says he talked to Kobe immediately after winning NBA title
Shaq will donate Super Bowl party proceeds to Kobe’s foundation, crash victims’ families
After days of deliberation following the death of his “brother” Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal has decided to proceed with “Shaq’s Fun House,” an carnival-style event scheduled for Friday night in Miami as one of the events leading up to Super Bowl LIV.
In a heartfelt social media post Wednesday, O’Neal said he will donate all his proceeds from the event to the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation and to the families of the nine people killed in the helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas.
“Kobe would want us to push through and celebrate life,” O’Neal wrote. “So let’s do just that.”
Musical performers at the event include Diddy, Diplo, Pitbull and Diesel (the name Shaq uses as an electronic music DJ).
ESPN anchor’s tribute to Kobe Bryant sparks #GirlDad trend
The final moments of Kobe Bryant’s fatal flight, turn by turn
A reconstruction of the flight by The Times tracks the helicopter’s path starting at a crucial moment near the end when the pilot left the San Fernando Valley above the 101 Freeway. Fog and cloudy weather had descended on the region, limiting visibility.
NTSB to FAA after helicopter crash: We warned you about terrain alert system
NTSB investigator Jennifer Homendy said at Tuesday’s news conference that her agency had recommended that the Federal Aviation Administration 16 years ago require that all choppers carrying six or more passengers be equipped with a terrain awareness and warning system, adding that the FAA has “failed to act” on the proposal. Because the FAA didn’t follow the recommendation, the chopper that crashed Sunday was not legally required to have the system.
Shortly after she spoke, an FAA spokesman disputed that assessment, noting that the FAA requires the terrain alarm system for helicopter air ambulance operations.
John Altobelli and family are paid tribute at Orange Coast College baseball opener
Sunday’s helicopter crash killed John Altobelli, 56, his wife, Keri, 46, and their daughter, Alyssa, 13, along with former Lakers star Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and four others.
Two days after the tragedy, the Pirates took the field for the first time in 28 years without Altobelli, who guided OCC to four state championships and 705 victories, sent hundreds of players to four-year colleges and helped countless teenagers mature into young men since 1993.
The crowd of about 2,000 that squeezed into Wendell Pickens Field on the school’s Costa Mesa campus included J.J. Altobelli, 29, a scout for the Boston Red Sox, and high school junior Alexis Altobelli, 16, the only surviving members of the Altobelli family.
Kobe Bryant’s helicopter was not equipped with terrain warning system that could have alerted pilot to hillside
The helicopter that crashed Sunday in Calabasas, killing nine people including Kobe Bryant, was not equipped with a terrain alarm system that could have warned the pilot he was approaching a hillside, National Transportation Safety Board officials said Tuesday.
The findings come as investigators are trying to determine why the helicopter crashed into a Calabasas hillside Sunday morning amid foggy conditions.
NTSB investigator Jennifer Homendy said at Tuesday’s news conference that the helicopter was at 2,300 feet when it lost communication with air traffic controllers. The descent rate of the helicopter at the time of impact was more than 2,000 feet per minute.
Dramatic video of wreckage from Kobe Bryant helicopter crash is released
Federal investigators on Tuesday released a dramatic video showing the scene where Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crashed into a Calabasas hillside, killing the NBA great, his daughter and seven other people.
The National Transportation Safety Board video shows the charred wreckage of the helicopter, which broke apart on impact Sunday morning. Much of what remained of the chopper was burned beyond recognition. But a wheel and parts of the fuselage appear not to have been burned.
The video was released as the NTSB is trying to determine the cause of the crash, a task expected to take months.
Kobe Bryant had a legendary workout for Clippers, who did him a favor by not drafting him
In the spring of 1996, fewer than a dozen Clippers officials watched as coach Bill Fitch ran a 17-year-old guard from Philadelphia through a solo predraft workout in Los Angeles.
On the day’s agenda was the same drill Fitch had used in hundreds of workouts during his previous 26 years evaluating NBA prospects. Fitch called it “baskets per minute,” and it was a souped-up version of the classic Mikan drill. Players alternated shooting on the left and right sides of the basket, using both hands, making as many baskets as possible in 60 seconds.
Larry Bird was one of the best Fitch had ever tested. Nothing, however, topped what Fitch would witness that spring day inside the Sports Arena from Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant’s devotion to family became paramount when his basketball career ended
It was December 2017, more than a year after Kobe Bryant had retired from basketball, and the Lakers great was expounding upon a fundamental truth of parenthood. Having spent much of his NBA career on the road, traveling from city to city, he talked about a new job, shuttling his daughters around Newport Coast.
“A lot of driving in a three-to-five mile radius,” he said. “Now, to have that, it’s absolutely wonderful. The time we spend in the car.”
Bryant’s life, which ended in a helicopter crash Sunday, might have seemed all big-time sports and celebrity from the outside, but there was something more basic at its core.
A tearful Shaquille O’Neal on Kobe Bryant’s death: ‘I’ve lost a little brother’
Shaquille O’Neal sat in a chair at center court inside Staples Center wearing a gray suit with tears streaming down his face as he talked about dealing with the death of his friend and former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant.
O’Neal and the acclaimed TNT crew of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith along with quests Jerry West, Dwyane Wade and Reggie Miller had come to Los Angeles on Tuesday to pay tribute to Bryant in an hourlong show called “Remembering Kobe.”
O’Neal struggled to come to grips with Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others perishing when their helicopter crashed into a Calabasas hillside Sunday.
Kobe Bryant became champion of women’s sports after career
Kobe Bryant sauntered through the locker room doors and eyes widened. After watching the Oregon women’s basketball team beat USC by 40 points at the Galen Center last January, the NBA legend, his daughter Gianna and other aspiring basketball players visited the Ducks.
Bryant greeted players with hugs. He signed their shoes — Kobes, naturally — while they were still on their feet. He complimented their playing style.
Bryant wasn’t in the courtside seat as a dad just chaperoning his daughter and her friends, Oregon coach Kelly Graves realized as he watched the interactions. This wasn’t a duty, this wasn’t an obligation and this wasn’t a publicity stunt.
Kobe Bryant’s winning skills captivated fans in the NBA’s huge China market
As a middle school student, Shen Yuqi started to follow the NBA largely because of Chinese superstar Yao Ming, a 7-foot, 6-inch phenom who caught her attention during the 2006-07 season.
Shen, like many basketball fans growing up China, soon found out the league was filled with dynamic players. She picked a new favorite star — No. 24 of the Los Angeles Lakers.
In the first NBA game she watched on television, the Rockets were playing the Lakers.
Fans pay tribute to late NBA star Kobe Bryant
The time Kobe Bryant took part in a child’s goldfish funeral
“Somehow yesterday was bad and today feels even worse,” Sacca said in an email to The Times on Tuesday.
Their relationship started several years ago when Bryant asked Sacca to serve as a mentor to help him grow as an investor and entrepreneur. They quickly became friends, bonding over business and fatherhood. Though Bryant built a reputation as a fearsome competitor on the basketball court and a businessman with wide-ranging pursuits off it, children brought out a different side.
One occasion lingers in Sacca’s mind.
AC Milan, Kobe Bryant’s favorite Italian soccer team, pays tribute during match
AC Milan and its fans paid tribute to Kobe Bryant with lights and applause before and during Tuesday’s Italian Cup game against Torino at the San Siro stadium.
Bryant, who grew up in Italy between the ages of 6 and 13, was a devout Milan fan. The 18-time NBA All-Star with the Lakers died Sunday with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, in a helicopter crash near Calabasas.
As Milan and Torino warmed up before the game, the words “Legends Never Die” and “SempreKobe” — a play on the “SempreMilan,” or “AlwaysMilan,” hashtag often used by the club — were displayed on the advertising boards around the San Siro while images of Bryant were shown on the giant screen.
WWE star Roman Reigns did what many dads had done after Kobe Bryant and Gianna died
Times reporter Arash Markazi caught up with Reigns and talked to him about Bryant.
“I watched religiously throughout his career,” Reigns said. “I never thought losing someone like that, essentially a stranger, though obviously a public figure ... I didn’t realize it would affect me so much. It broke my heart. My heart goes out to his wife and his three girls that were left behind. All the families that were involved.
HBO’s ‘Real Sports’ grapples with Kobe Bryant’s complex legacy
Kobe Bryant’s greatness as a basketball player is unquestioned. But he was also known for his prickly personality and his villainous on-court demeanor as the self-named Black Mamba.
Those aspects of Bryant’s complicated nature are recalled in Tuesday’s installment of HBO’s sports magazine “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel.”
The “Real Sports” segment focuses on two profiles the series conducted with Bryant, who died Sunday, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others, in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. The first piece, from 2000, finds the player discussing his early motivations to become great, including being inspired by the success of his father, pro basketball player Joseph Bryant.
Washington Post clears writer who tweeted about Kobe Bryant rape allegation
A Washington Post reporter who had been placed on administrative leave after she tweeted a link to a story about a 2003 rape allegation against Kobe Bryant has been cleared to return to work, the paper said Tuesday.
In a statement, the Post said that an internal review had determined that political reporter Felicia Sonmez was “not in clear and direct violation of our social media policy,” but that the tweets were “ill-timed.”
Sonmez’s tweet came in the hours after Bryant, 41, died in a helicopter crash Sunday.
Video Column: Kobe Bryant was much more than just an iconic basketball star
Investigators from the FAA and NTSB searched for clues in Kobe’s helicopter crash
Turning now to the investigation as federal authorities work to unravel the mystery of why Kobe’s helicopter crashed. Today, local officials had the grim task of removing the remains of the victims, while investigators from the FAA and NTSB searched for clues. L.A. Times reporter Richard Winton saw the immediate aftermath at the time of the crash and has been covering the investigation from Calabasas.
NTSB Calabasas, CA Helicopter Crash B-Roll
Film academy to acknowledge Kobe Bryant’s death at the Oscars
Joining other tributes that have poured in around the world, the motion picture academy plans to acknowledge the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant at next month’s Oscars ceremony.
The specific details are being kept under wraps at this time. The Oscars telecast has long included an In Memoriam segment to acknowledge notable members of the Hollywood community who passed away that year, but it is unclear whether Bryant will receive a separate tribute. Bryant won an Academy Award in 2018 for producing and writing the five-minute animated short “Dear Basketball.”
California lawmakers have a moment of silence on House floor for Kobe Bryant, other crash victims
Reps. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) and Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) led members of the California delegation in a moment of silence on the House floor Tuesday afternoon in honor of the nine victims who died in Sunday’s helicopter crash.
Rouda named each of the victims in alphabetical order: John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Kobe and Gianna Bryant, Payton and Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan.The congressman acknowledged the group’s love of basketball and singled out the parents’ and coaches’ on board who were steadfastly dedicated to nurturing the passion and talents of the three 13-year-old girls who died on their way to play a game.“
Orange County is grieving, but we will find solace and purpose in the legacy they left behind,” he said. Waters addressed the loss of Kobe and Gianna Byrant specifically, before the House fell silent.“
I stand today on behalf of all Californians, and certainly the entire city of Los Angeles and millions of fans worldwide who are mourning the sudden loss of Kobe Bryant,” she said. “Our hearts go out to his wife, Vanessa, surviving daughters, Natalia, Bianka and Capri, relatives, teammates and friends.”
Fans pay tribute to late NBA star Kobe Bryant
Why you can’t buy Kobe Bryant’s signature sneakers on Nike.com
When Kobe Bryant sneakers on Nike’s e-commerce site disappeared from the merchandise mix at some point in the 24 hours after Bryant’s death, some published reports claimed that it was part of Nike’s effort to limit secondary resellers’ ability to lay in a supply of sneakers that could later be sold at grief-inflated prices.
That’s not accurate, according to a Nike representative, who told The Times on Tuesday that the sneakers weren’t purposefully pulled from the company’s e-commerce site but that the existing stock had sold out. The Beaverton, Ore., athletic goods maker has been making Bryant’s signature shoe since 2003, and searches for the Black Mamba’s name on Nike.com redirect to a message of condolences dated Jan. 26.
Lakers fan pays tribute to Kobe Bryant with his ‘KNG KOBE’ truck
Drivers on Lake Avenue in Pasadena honked their horns late Sunday afternoon as Ron Bonilla drove his black-matte 2007 Toyota Tundra — with personal license plate KNG KOBE and a Lakers flag at half-mast — through traffic.
Bonilla, 48, has been a Lakers fan since 1979, when Magic Johnson joined the team.
“I’ve never felt so connected to any athlete or artist or entertainer as I felt with Kobe,” said Bonilla, proudly wearing Bryant’s No. 24 jersey and a Lakers cap.
H.B.’s Ara Zobayan, who flew doomed Bryant helicopter, was an experienced pilot and instructor
Ara Zobayan of Huntington Beach — the pilot of the helicopter that crashed in Calabasas on Sunday, killing nine people, including Zobayan and retired Lakers star Kobe Bryant — was an experienced flier and a certified flight instructor with more than 8,000 hours of flight time, sources said this week.
Bryant regularly used the helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76B owned by the charter service Island Express. Records show the aircraft had flown between John Wayne Airport, where it took off Sunday morning, and Camarillo Airport, where it was heading, about two dozen times in the past two years.