Former Lakers Star Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash. He was 41. TMZ broke the story that the basketball legend’s private helicopter crashed near Calabasas, California. Bryant was one of nine people who died in the crash including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Bryant had been known to commute via helicopter since his time on the Lakers in an effort to spend less time in the car and more time with his children.
Bryant retired in 2016 after twenty seasons in the NBA and had mainly focused on businesses unrelated to basketball. He told CNBC, “The question needs to be, ‘What is my passion?’ Not, ‘Where can I create the most value or generate the most revenue?’ But, ‘What is my next passion?’ When you find that next passion, everything else will make sense.”
In 2018, Bryant won an Academy Award for “Dear Basketball,” an animated short that depicts Bryant as a child dreaming of basketball glory. In 2016, Bryant partnered with former CEO of Web.com Jeff Stibel to form the venture capital fund Bryant Stibel.
But it was his role of father that seemed to be his greatest passion, and his great focus after retirement. Recently he was seen teaching Gianna basketball tips while watching The Hawks play The Nets. He said, “A valuable lesson that I can teach them is what it means to pursue excellence and the commitment level that comes with that.”
Kobe Bryant played twenty seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers. He retired the all-time scorer in Lakers franchise history. He won five NBA championships, 2 Olympic Gold medals and was twice named NBA-finals MVP. In addition to Vanessa, he is survived by the couple’s four daughters Gianna, Natalia, Bianca and newborn Capri.
Kobe Bryant’s life and legacy are not without controversy. But in the light of the recent tragedy, he is honored as father and competitor. Hearts are heavy in the city of Los Angeles.