Share
Live

Kobe Bryant’s death updates: Clippers to honor Kobe Bryant in first game at Staples Center

Share
Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Sunday in Calabasas.
(Getty Images)

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.

Lakers’ Rob Pelinka releases statement on Kobe Bryant and Gianna

Rob Pelinka, the Lakers vice president, basketball operations and general manager, released a statement on Thursday saying that his lost his best friend and his goddaughter on Sunday. They are the first words from Pelinka since the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others.

“On Sunday, I lost my best friend and sweet goddaughter. With that, there has been an amputation of part of my soul.”

Pelinka goes on describing the player, husband, “girl-dad” and best friend Bryant was.

“Kobe was a force of nature, deep, and obsessed with excellence. He was wise, determined, passionate. A visionary beyond measure. A dedicated and loving husband, and a ‘girl-dad’ like no other. When he walked into a room, the energy ignited. He was high voltage, with a motor that had no limits. His mind had an infinite capacity to learn. He was, simply put, the most inspirational athlete of our time. What the world may not know, is that he was also best friend anyone could ever imagine.”

Read more >>>

Share

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.

Kobe Bryant's jerseys remain uncovered ahead of a Clippers game against the Kings.
Kobe Bryant’s jerseys are uncovered ahead of a Clippers game against the Kings.
(Helene Elliott / Los Angeles Times)

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.

Read More > > >

Share

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.

Read More >>>

Share

Metta World Peace shares life lessons he learned from Kobe Bryant

Share
Advertisement

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.

Read more >>>

Share

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.

Read more >>>

Share

Vanessa Bryant shares the pain of her family’s loss: ‘Our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon’

Vanessa Bryant took to social media on Wednesday to thank the public for their support and express her grief over the helicopter crash that killed her husband, Kobe, daughter Gianna and seven others Sunday.

“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon,” she wrote on Instagram.

“I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever.”

Read More >>>

Share

Basketball star, Oscar winner and ... rapper? Remembering Kobe Bryant’s music career

Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant takes the stage at the House of Blues in 2000.
(Clarence Williams / Los Angeles Times)

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.

Read More > > >

Share
Advertisement

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.)

“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.”

Share

Clippers’ Lou Williams on Kobe Bryant, being a #GirlDad

Share

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.

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.

Share

Clippers’ Paul George on Kobe Bryant: ‘He was my Michael Jordan’

Share
Advertisement

Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard says he talked to Kobe immediately after winning NBA title

Share

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).

Share

Lakers unfurl fourth Kobe Bryant banner for fans to sign

Makeshift memorial for Kobe Bryant outside Staples Center.
People gather around a makeshift memorial for Kobe Bryant on Jan. 26 outside Staples Center.
(Apu Gomes / AFP via Getty Images)

Late Wednesday morning, as a large media contingent waited outside the Lakers’ El Segundo practice facility for the team’s first meeting with the press since Saturday night’s game in Philadelphia, the franchise unfurled a fourth banner featuring Kobe Bryant for fans to leave their expressions of grief.

Three days after Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, fans were still coming by the facility to pay their respects. Three 10-foot-by-20-foot banners had no more room for new messages.

Inside, while the Lakers prepared to discuss Bryant’s death with reporters, one fan stood outside with a fresh bouquet of flowers.

The Lakers waited until Monday afternoon to release any statement out of respect for Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, and his three surviving daughters. But the franchise, feeling very much like a family this week, also needed time to process and mourn the loss of a legend.

The organization has been reeling since the tragic event. Their general manager, Rob Pelinka, was one of Bryant’s closest friends and Gianna’s godfather.

Lakers executives, including 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 Jerry Buss’ 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 to help comfort 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.

Formal plans have not been completed on how to honor Bryant. The first large white canvas banner with an image of Bryant leaned was erected at the facility on Sunday. Fans wrote messages on the banner using Sharpies distributed by the Lakers. It was nearly full by Monday afternoon, and enough fans have visited since to fill up two more.

Share

ESPN anchor’s tribute to Kobe Bryant sparks #GirlDad trend

Share
Advertisement

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.

Share

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.

Read more >>>

Share

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.

Read More >>>

Share

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.

Read More >>>

Share
Advertisement

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.

Read More >>>

Share

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.

Read More >>>

Share

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.

Read More >>>

Share

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.

Read More >>>

Share
Advertisement

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.

Read More >>>

Share

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.

Read More >>>

Share

Fans pay tribute to late NBA star Kobe Bryant

More and more fans flood the Lakers training facility in El Segundo on Monday to pay respects to retired NBA star Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas.

Share

The time Kobe Bryant took part in a child’s goldfish funeral

In the 2½ days after Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash, billionaire investor Chris Sacca sifted through old emails and text messages with the Lakers star.

“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.

Read More >>>

Share
Advertisement

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.

Read More >>>

Share

WWE star Roman Reigns did what many dads had done after Kobe Bryant and Gianna died

WWE superstar Roman Reigns, who grew up a huge Lakers fan, was preparing for Sunday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view event when he learned of the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.

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.

Read More >>>

Share

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.

Read More>>>

Share

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.

Read More>>>

Share
Advertisement

Video Column: Kobe Bryant was much more than just an iconic basketball star

Kobe Bryant was much more than just an iconic basketball star. L.A. Times sports and culture columnist LZ Granderson has covered the NBA and Kobe Bryant for decades.

Share

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.

(Required)

Share

NTSB Calabasas, CA Helicopter Crash B-Roll

NTSB Board Member Jennifer Homendy briefs media on the Jan. 26 helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif.

Share

Film academy to acknowledge Kobe Bryant’s death at the Oscars

TOPSHOT - Kobe Bryant poses in the press room with the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for "Dear Basketball," during the 90th Annual Academy Awards on March 4, 2018, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Kobe Bryant poses in the press room with the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for “Dear Basketball,” during the 90th Annual Academy Awards on March 4, 2018, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

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.”

Read More>>>

Share
Advertisement

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.”

Share

Fans pay tribute to late NBA star Kobe Bryant

More and more fans flood the Lakers training facility in El Segundo on Monday to pay respects to retired NBA star Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas.

Share

Why you can’t buy Kobe Bryant’s signature sneakers on Nike.com

Nike Protro 5
The Nike Kobe Zoom Protro 5
(Nike Inc.)

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.

Read More>>>

Share

Lakers fan pays tribute to Kobe Bryant with his ‘KNG KOBE’ truck

Ron Bonilla stands behind his truck that features a KNG KOBE license plate and a Lakers flag at half-staff.
(Kathy Klein / For The Times)

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.

Read More>>>

Share
Advertisement

H.B.’s Ara Zobayan, who flew doomed Bryant helicopter, was an experienced pilot and instructor

Ara Zobayan, 50, of Huntington Beach piloted the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter that crashed Sunday morning in Calabasas.
(KTLA)

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.

Read More>>>

Share

All bodies recovered from Kobe Bryant crash site as investigation continues

The bodies of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others who died in a helicopter crash have been recovered from a Calabasas hillside, coroner officials said Tuesday.

Authorities on Sunday recovered the bodies of at least three victims from the helicopter wreckage. The next day, the search continued for the six remaining victims. Their bodies were eventually located and taken to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s forensic science center, where officials will work to identify them.

Authorities investigating the devastating incident said the impact of the crash was intense, shattering the chopper and sending debris over a wide area.

Read More>>>

Share

Kobe Bryant’s studio removes Oscar-winning ‘Dear Basketball’ film from website

A shot from Kobe Bryant’s Oscar-winning short “Dear Basketball,” directed and animated by Greg Keane.
(Granity Studios)

Don’t be surprised if you can’t find Kobe Bryant’s Oscar-winning animated short “Dear Basketball” streaming online anymore in the wake of the basketball star’s death. The film, which Granity Studios briefly made available for free Monday, has been taken down.

The decision Tuesday to take down the video means it’ll be hard to find online — again.

Read More>>>

Share

Petition to use Kobe Bryant image in NBA logo approaches 2 million signatures

In the days since the helicopter crash that took the lives of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others, NBA players and teams have been paying tribute to the Lakers legend, with gestures including handwritten messages on their sneakers and intentional clock violations of 8 and 24 seconds in honor Bryant’s jersey numbers and custom pregame jerseys.

One fan has suggested a way the league can permanently honor one of its all-time greats — and close to 2 million people agree with the idea.

Change the logo.

Read More>>>

Share
Advertisement

The questions at the heart of the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash investigation

Flight graphic for the homepage.
(Matt Stiles & Priya Krishnakumar)

There is no black box recording.

The audio transmission released so far does not cover the actual moment of the crash.

And the impact of the crash sent debris scattered over a huge area.

These are some of the impediments the National Transportation Safety Board is facing as it investigates why a helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and eight others crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, killing all on board.

The probe is still in its early stages, and a final determination is months away.

At its heart are some basic questions: Why was the pilot flying so low in the moments before the crash, and why could the chopper not clear the hillside?

Read More>>>

Share

Washington Post places reporter on leave after tweet about Kobe Bryant rape allegations

WASHINGTON —The Washington Post has placed a political reporter on administrative leave after she tweeted a link to a story about rape allegations against NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, who was killed Sunday. Dozens of journalists at the newspaper criticized the decision.

Reporter Felicia Sonmez’s tweet Sunday, amid widespread public mourning over Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash, drew considerable backlash on social media. The Post reported that Somnez received threats of death and rape and had to move to a hotel after her home address was published online.

The Post said Somnez deleted the original tweet at the request of a managing editor. She also received an email from executive editor Marty Baron saying: “A real lack of judgment to tweet this. Please stop. You’re hurting this institution by doing this.” Somnez shared the email with an Associated Press reporter.

The Post said Somnez had been placed on paid leave while newsroom managers looked into the episode. A spokeswoman for the newspaper did not respond to questions about Baron’s role.

Read More>>>

Share

Watch TV’s comics honor Kobe Bryant: ‘He always showed up to save the day’

Kobe Bryant, Jimmy Fallon
Kobe Bryant visits “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in 2015.
(NBC / YouTube)

Tears replaced laughs on the comedy scene Monday as TV hosts delivered touching tributes to Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.

Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen DeGeneres struggled to keep it together while lamenting life’s fragility and recounting some of their fondest memories with the Laker legend. James Corden and Conan O’Brien were also among those who honored Bryant with reflective words and, in some cases, highlight reels of his past guest appearances.

“Tonight’s show is going to be different from our usual show,” Kimmel began his “Jimmy Kimmel Live” monologue. “We don’t have a studio audience here tonight because going forward with a comedy show didn’t feel right, considering what happened yesterday.... That was a punch in the gut for many of us. Kobe was — and I know this might not make sense, but — he was just the last person you could ever imagine something like this happening to.”

Read More>>>

Share

Deputies on horseback patrol Kobe Bryant crash site as trespassers ignore warnings

CALABASAS, CA-JANUARY 26, 2020: People gather on Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas near the scene of a helicopter that crashed and burst into flames Sunday morning amid foggy conditions in the hills above. All people aboard were killed including Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)
CALABASAS, CA-JANUARY 26, 2020: People gather on Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas near the scene of a helicopter that crashed and burst into flames Sunday morning amid foggy conditions in the hills above. All people aboard were killed including Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Investigators and recovery teams were back at a Calabasas hillside Tuesday, continuing to remove remains from the site of a helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others as they tried to determine what caused the tragedy.

Authorities have recovered the bodies of at least three victims and say the process of removing others may take several days to complete. They said the impact of the crash was intense, shattering the chopper and sending debris over a wide area.

“This was a pretty devastating accident,” National Transportation Safety Board investigator Jennifer Homendy said. “There is an impact area on one of the hills, and a piece of the tail is down the hill on the left side of the hill. The fuselage is on the other side of that hill. Then the main rotor is about hundred yards beyond that. The debris field is about 500 to 600 feet.”

Read More>>>

Share
Advertisement

Bad Bunny releases ‘6 Rings,’ a tribute song to Kobe Bryant

Bad Bunny luciendo un nuevo "look" durante su presentación en el Calibash 2020 en Los Ángeles.
Bad Bunny luciendo un nuevo “look” durante su presentación en el Calibash 2020 en Los Ángeles.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Bad Bunny is paying his respects to the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant the way he knows best: through music.

The singer released the song “6 Rings” on Monday in honor of the late Lakers star, who died in a helicopter crash over the weekend along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.

The two-minute track, sung in Spanish, includes commentary from Bryant’s 2006 game against the Toronto Raptors where the Lakers player scored a staggering 81 points.

Read More>>>

Share

Kobe Bryant HATED losing so much that it set him apart from his Lakers teammates

Kobe Bryant sits on the bench during a Lakers overtime loss to the Phoenix Suns.
(Los Angeles Times)

It took almost 200 pages in “Mamba Mentality,” Kobe Bryant’s 2018 book, for him to write explicitly about losing basketball games, and when he did, it was to the point.

“THE AGONY OF DEFEAT IS AS LOW AS THE JOY OF WINNING IS HIGH,” he wrote in capital letters — white text on a black page below a photo of a himself sitting dejected on the Lakers bench.

Bryant’s countenance let you know.

Read More>>>

Share

TNT to air live Kobe Bryant tribute ahead of Celtics-Heat game tonight

TNT will air a one-hour special tribute to Kobe Bryant tonight at 7 p.m.

The live special will be streamed from the Staples Center and will air ahead of the Celtics vs. Heat game in Miami. The tribute will be hosted by Shaquille O’Neal, Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith. Dwyane Wade, Candace Parker and Steve Nash will be guests on the program.

TNT’s pregame, halftime and postgame coverage will all focus on Bryant from the Staples Center, which was slated to host the postponed Lakers/Clippers game.

Share

Tourists and fans invade Calabasas hillside where Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crashed

CALABASAS-CA-JANUARY 27, 2020: A small makeshift memorial near the site of the helicopter crash in Calabasas that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others Sunday morning, on Monday, January 27, 2020. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

As out-of-town visitors arrived in Calabasas looking to glimpse the hillside where Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven other people died in a helicopter crash, some ran into sheriff’s checkpoints, some became lost and others had no idea where to go.

Enter 70-year-old Linda Adams.

The 30-year Calabasas resident pointed to a shortcut between Las Virgenes Creek, where fans gathered to scan the hillside, and Las Virgenes Road, which saved several travelers at least a mile of walking.

A few onlookers even joined Adams to catch a better and closer view of the crash site.

Read More>>>

Share
Advertisement

Kobe Bryant’s death hits close to home for USC basketball players

Melrose Avenue memorial for Kobe Bryant
(Britny Mejia/ Los Angeles Times)

The mural towered over Melrose Avenue, and for three years, since it was painted outside of the sneaker shop across from Fairfax High, Ethan Anderson would stare at it from a classroom window. Every day he walked or drove past, looking at it so often that the towering likeness, soaring across a purple wall of Shoe Palace, merely had become a part of the landscape.

To Anderson and so many others who’d grown up in the long shadow he cast, it seemed Kobe Bryant always would be there, his presence looming forever over Los Angeles. But on Sunday morning, Bryant died in a helicopter crash that killed eight others, including his daughter Gianna, and as Los Angeles mourned, turning the sidewalk outside Shoe Palace into a shrine, Anderson found himself thinking about that mural and the legacy of the man in it.

Read More>>>

Share

Kobe Bryant: Here are some of the Mamba’s most memorable quotes

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers address the media during the post game news conference after scoring 60 point in his final NBA game at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers address the media during the post game news conference after scoring 60 point in his final NBA game at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died 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.

Bryant was known to give some memorable quotes over the years — some inspirational, some funny and all pure Kobe. Here are some that might provide a little comfort during this tragic time.

Read More >>>

Share

Vanguard University, practice home of Kobe Bryant’s club team, mourns the basketball great and his daughter

Kobe Bryant with Vanguard University women's basketball team coaches
In addition to coaching his daughter’s club team at Vanguard University regularly, Kobe Bryant visited campus to participate in coach’s conference or attend practices of the women’s basketball team. He is pictured here, from left, with Vanguard University’s women’s basketball team assistant coach James Parker, head coach Russ Davis and assistant coaches Maya Kennedy and Jana Pearson.
(Courtesy of Vanguard University)

When Gianna “Gigi” Bryant first told her basketball star father that she wanted to play the sport, Kobe Bryant took her seriously.

“He kind of sat down with Gigi and said, ‘If you want to play, we’re going to do this,’” said Jeff Melton, assistant athletic director at Vanguard University. “’We’ll do this if this is a passion for you.’”

When she said yes, her father — who became legendary for his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers — began tapping into his world of opportunities. He arranged for her to meet her basketball idol, Katie Lou Samuelson, a guard for the WNBA’s Chicago Sky. He took her to Atlanta Hawks NBA games to watch Trae Young, another of her favorite players.

Read More >>>

Share

Orange Coast College baseball team to play two days after coach John Altobelli died

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli in an undated photo. Both were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas on Jan. 27, 2020.
(Orange Coast College)

It’s OK to cry, to be overcome by grief. It’s OK to be mad, to scream out in frustration. Most of all, it’s OK to ask for help.

That was the message to the Orange Coast College baseball team as it prepared for Tuesday’s season opener against Chula Vista Southwestern, a game that will be played just two days after longtime Pirates coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their 13-year-old daughter, Alyssa, died in the fiery helicopter crash that also killed former Lakers star Kobe Bryant on Sunday.

“We athletes, we’re macho, and we want to be tough, and because of that, sometimes we pretend like we’re not hurting,” former Cal State Fullerton and Oregon coach George Horton, a close friend of the Altobelli family, told players before practice Monday.

Read More >>>

Share
Advertisement

Column: Kobe Bryant’s reaction when I cursed him on TV showed the real Kobe, as he always did

It was in the first round of the 2012 playoffs, the Lakers were in Denver, and I couldn’t take it anymore.

I couldn’t bear one more moment of listening to that smug Kobe Bryant.

Asked about the defense being played on him by the Nuggets’ Danilo Gallinari during a postgame news conference, Bryant filled the small media room with dripping sarcasm.

He smiled, shook his head, and said something like, oh yeah, he was real worried, truly bothered, so stressed ...

And I lost it.

“Kobe, you’re such an asshole!” I yelled at him.

Read More >>>

Share

Mothers, fathers, daughters, coaches: Here are the 9 killed in the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant took in the U.S. Women's National soccer team game vs. China at Qualcomm Stadium on April 10, 2014
(K.C. Alfred/U-T San Diego)

Sunday should have been a day filled with adrenaline-pumping competition set to a soundtrack of cheers and the scuffle of sneakers on a basketball court.

It wasn’t supposed to be a day marred by a tragedy that took the lives of nine people and left a city heartbroken.

Many of the victims of the Calabasas helicopter crash were united in their love of basketball, headed to a tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks. They included Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, a budding basketball player who was ready to follow in her father’s footsteps; baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their basketball-playing daughter Alyssa; mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester; Mamba Academy basketball coach Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan.

As Los Angeles collectively mourned their Lakers hero, multiple families and friends reeled while reality hit.

Read More>>>

Share

The last flight of Kobe Bryant

A light fog had settled on the runway of John Wayne Airport Sunday morning when Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and six other passengers boarded a chartered helicopter to fly to a basketball tournament in Thousand Oaks.

A half-hour later, they were flying over thickening clouds in the San Fernando Valley. The pilot was worried enough to ask flight controllers to keep track of them. As he approached the hills of Calabasas at 150 miles per hour, they radioed him, telling him he was too low for them to see on radar.

The pilot commenced a climb, rising 765 feet in 36 seconds, enough to clear adjacent hills.

Read More>>>

Share

What causes the deep marine layer that played a role in the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash?

(Paul Duginski / Los Angeles Times)

On Sunday morning, when Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, there was a thick marine layer and patchy dense fog that obscured some of the terrain.

The conditions were the result of a deteriorating cold front passing through the area with moist northwest flow, which caused low clouds to pile up against the northern slopes of Ventura and L.A. County mountains. There were showers to the north, and clouds pushing into coastal valleys were thick enough to cause drizzle along the coast and in nearby foothills, according to the National Weather Service. A webcam at Oat Mountain, northwest of Porter Ranch, suggested that the marine layer was 3,000 feet thick.

Read More>>>

Share
Advertisement

Huge Kobe Bryant fans Justin Turner and Clayton Kershaw mourn his death