NBA Star Kobe Bryant Dies in Helicopter Crash

The Associated Press (AP) reported former Los Angeles Laker star Kobe Bryant, 41, and eight others died in a helicopter crash that occurred at approximately 10 a.m Sunday near Calabasas, California, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

The AP report indicated the crash occurred on a steep hillside in dense morning fog.

Bryant’s daughter Gianna, 13, is confirmed as one of the others killed in the crash.

The names of the six other presumed dead are not yet available, according to the AP news release.

According to the NBA website, Bryant began his 19-year career with the Lakers in the 1996-97 season, where he averaged 25 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. His jersey number was 24.

Bryant was the 13th pick in the first round draft in 1996, having previously played for the Charlotte Hornets in North Carolina, according to the NBA website.

According to the AP, fellow basketball great Michael Jordan said of Bryant “Words can’t describe the pain I am feeling. I loved Kobe — he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much. He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply — and took great pride in his daughter’s love for the game of basketball.” 

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