Kobe Bryant is dead at just 41, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna in a horrifying helicopter crash that took place on Sunday, Jan. 26. Among those who lost their lives in the accident were Alyssa Altobelli, who was a close friend of Gianna’s and a teammate, and Alyssa’s parents John, 56, and Keri Altobelli. The group were en route to a basketball practice at Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy located in Thousand Oaks, California. Here are 5 things to know about Alyssa and her family.
1. Her parents were also killed. Nine passengers were confirmed to have been on board the fatal helicopter flight, including Alyssa and her parents John and Keri Altobelli, Orange Coast College confirmed in an emotional Facebook tribute. The Altobelli family were flying with Kobe and Gianna to the Mamba Sports Academy from Orange County, where they live, to Thousand Oaks, where the school is located. Alyssa is survived by her siblings J.J. and Alexis, who’s photos are prominently featured on their mom Keri’s Facebook page.
2. Her dad was a baseball coach. John was known as “Coach Alto” and was the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College’s Pirate Athletics. “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of Orange Coast College head baseball coach John Altobelli. He was a coach, a colleague, a mentor and a friend at OCC for 27 years,” the school issued in a statement, alongside a black-and-white photo. John — who was named Coach of the Year in 2019 — had four state championships to his name, along with over 700 wins. “John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball,” Jason Kehler, Coast Athletic Director, also said. “He truly personified what it means to be a baseball coach. The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none – he treated them like family. Our deepest condolences go out to the Altobelli family during this time of tragedy.”
3. Alyssa was on the Los Angeles Lady Mambas Team. Alyssa was a teammate alongside Gianna at the Thousand Oaks based sporting academy, where she was coached by Kobe himself. The Altobelli family regularly travelled with the Bryant’s to practices and games, OCC Assistant Coach Ron La Ruffa confirmed. “It was something John routinely did, flying up with Kobe to attend games with his daughter,” Ron told CNN. The facility offers programs for youth and adults alike, and was founded by Kobe himself in 2018. On the website, Mamba is described as a “full-circle facility designed to update the way men, women and youth approach human performance, by creating a multi-platform environment that activates, educates and provides an opportunity for humans to unlock their full potential.” Kobe was a strong advocate for the WNBA and for young women, like Gianna and Alyssa, pursuing their passion in the sport.
4. She was friends of Gianna Bryant. Kobe has previously posted about Alyssa on his Instagram account, which boasts over 14 million followers. “I hate seeing my #teammamba girls play against each other. This is GREAT defense by our mamba pg Alyssa Altobelli and a familiar looking fade by our 2gd the #Mambacita,” he captioned a video of the teen on Nov. 15.
5. Her brother J.J. was also an athlete. Just like his dad, J.J. pursued his passion in baseball after graduating from Woodbridge High School in Irvine, California. Alyssa’s older brother was on the baseball team at his college, University of Oregon, where he later became an assistant coach. He also worked as a Red Sox scout. J.J. majored in general social science.