Three days after Kobe Bryant tragically died, his former basketball team, the LA Lakers, took to Instagram to mourn the 41-year-old and his daughter, Gianna, who also lost her life in the crash.
Kobe Bryant, 41, was a Los Angeles Lakers legend, and the team is beyond heartbroken after he and his daughter, Gianna Bryant, 13, died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. “We are devastated and have been forever changed by the sudden loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” the team wrote on Instagram on Jan. 29, along with a photo of Kobe and Gianna, WHICH YOU CAN SEE HERE. “We send our love to [his wife] Vanessa, the Bryant family, and to the families of the other passengers. Words cannot express what Kobe means to the Los Angeles Lakers, our fans and our city. More than a basketball player, he was a beloved father, husband and teammate. Their love and light will remain in our hearts forever.”
Kobe was drafted to the NBA straight out of high school, and began his career with the Lakers in 1996. He played with the team for 20 years before retiring in 2016, and will forever be regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. With the Lakers, Kobe won five NBA championships. Both numbers he wore during his tenure on the Lakers — 8 and 24 — were retired by the team in Dec. 2017. The Lakers were scheduled to play the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center on Jan. 28, just two days after the crash, but the game was indefinitely postponed. The team’s next scheduled home game is on Jan. 31 against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Kobe and Gianna were amongst nine people who were killed when the private helicopter that they were traveling on crashed in Calabasas on Jan. 26. The exact cause of the crash has not been confirmed yet, and an investigation is expected to take many months. However, it is expected that foggy weather conditions played a part in the accident.
The helicopter was heading to one of Gianna’s basketball games at Kobe’s Mamba Academy when it crashed. The other passengers were two members of Gianna’s team, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, along with their parents, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli and Sarah Chester, and coach, Christina Mauser. Ara Zaboyan was the pilot.