Kobe Bryant, 41, one of basketball’s greatest players, was among the passengers who died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, according to reports.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in an afternoon news conference the passenger manifest for the helicopter indicated nine people were on board. There were no survivors.
“It is entirely inappropriate right now to identify anyone by name,” Villanueva said.
Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna was also killed in the crash. Gianna and her father were en route to an AAU basketball game Sunday morning when the helicopter crashed.
Firefighters doused a quarter-acre brush fire, said fire Capt. Tony Imbrenda.
The helicopter crashed crash took place in Calabasas, a city of about 25,000 people in the Santa Monica Mountains about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Bryant retired in 2016 as a five-time NBA champion, 11-time All-NBA first-team selection, 2008 MVP, two-time Finals MVP, 18-time All-Star and four-time All-Star MVP who spent his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He also won gold medals with USA Basketball at the 200 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics.
After the 2015-16 season, Bryant was the third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 33,643 points, but last Saturday in Philadelphia, Lakers star LeBron James scored 29 points and passed Bryant on the scoring list.
After the game, James spoke fondly of his admiration for Bryant.
“I’m happy just to be in any conversation with Kobe “Bean” Bryant, one of the all-time greatest players, one of the all-time greatest Lakers,” James said. “The man has two jerseys hanging up in Staples Center. It’s just crazy.”
Bryant tweeted, “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect to my brother #33644”