Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna die in helicopter crash
Kobe Bryant was killed Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
Gianna Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, was aboard the aircraft as well. She also died in the accident.
Nine people were killed in the crash, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department confirmed.
Bryant was 41 years old. He retired from the NBA after the 2015-16 season following 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers. One of the most beloved and polarizing players of his generation, Bryant won five NBA championships while averaging 25 points over 1,346 regular-season games. He was an 18-time All-Star, a 15-time All-NBA selection, a two-time scoring champion, and the league's MVP in 2007-08.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement on the sudden deaths of Bryant and his daughter:
The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.
For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals. But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.
We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world.
Born in Philadelphia, Bryant spent part of his childhood in Italy where his father Joe Bryant played professionally. He then returned to Pennsylvania and emerged as a prep star at Lower Merion High School.
In 1996, he joined a trend at the time and passed on college basketball, jumping straight to the NBA from high school. Drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, his rights were dealt to the Lakers shortly afterward for Vlade Divac.
On Jan. 22, 2006, Bryant scored 81 points in a game against the Toronto Raptors. It remains the second-highest single-game output in NBA history after Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point contest in 1962.
On Saturday night, LeBron James passed him for third in all-time NBA points in Bryant's hometown of Philadelphia.