Koby Bryant: Legendary Basketball Star, 41, Dies in Helicopter Crash

Kobe Bryant, 41, the legendary basketball star who played for 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, was killed when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed and burst into flames.

It happened Sunday morning amid foggy conditions in the hills above Calabasas, sources say.

Bryant’s death stunned Los Angeles and the sports world, which mourned one of basketball’s greatest players. Sources said the helicopter took off from Orange County, where Bryant lived.

The crash occurred shortly before 10 a.m. near Las Virgenes Road, south of Agoura Road, according to a watch commander for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Four others on board also died.

Bryant was in Philadelphia last night to watch LeBron James pass him for third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. James set the record in the third quarter of the Lakers’ 108-91 loss to the 76ers, scoring 33,655 points in his career. Bryant, who retired in 2016 after spending his career with the Lakers, scored 33,643 points.

Bryant was born in Philadelphia. His father, Joe, played eight NBA seasons in the ’70s and ’80s for the Philadelphia 76ers, San Diego Clippers and, in his last stop, the Houston Rockets under then-coach Del Harris.

A light-hearted, 6-10 string bean who went by his Philadelphia playground nickname, “Jellybean,” Joe Bryant played college ball at La Salle and married Pam Cox, the sister of a starting guard at Villanova. They named their first son Kobe, after the city in Japan.

Kobe Bryant, 41, was killed when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed and burst into flames Sunday morning. His daughter Gianna, 13, was also on board. 

Across 20 years Kobe Bryant established himself among the pantheons of the all-time NBA greats, a one-name global sensation. 

Thousands of people gathered to mourn Bryant outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, where there is a statue of the retired Lakers legend.