On January 26, 2020, nine people disappeared from our realities. A fatal helicopter crash occurred in Calabasas, California, at around 9:06 a.m. This helicopter (Sikorsky S-76B) contained retired NBA player Kobe Bryant, Giana Bryant (his daughter), Alyssa Altobelli (teammate of Gigi Bryant), Payton Chester (teammate of Gigi Bryant), Keri Altobelli (mother of Alyssa Altobelli), John Altobelli (father of Alyssa Altobelli), Sarah Chester (Mother of Payton Chester), Christina Mauser (Assistant Coach for Mamba Basketball Team), and Ara Zobayan (pilot of helicopter).
The nine individuals on the helicopter were on their way to Kobe Bryant’s Mama basketball team home game. The game was located in the co-founded training faculty owned by Kobe Bryant in Thousand Oaks. Giana, Alyssa, and Payton were expected to play against the Lady Mavericks at the faculty Mamba playoff series.
Abruptly, due to the foggy conditions, the helicopter lost control. The helicopter descended drastically nearly crashing into Calabasas home’s roofs. Soon the helicopter was back in the sky, but with no sense of recovery. The helicopter once again descended, and eventually crashed into the mountains of Calabasas, leading to the death of all passengers inside the helicopter.
With the news spreading, fans began to mourn globally for the death of an NBA legend (Kobe Bryant) and the 8 people aboard the helicopter. Individuals gathered at the Staples Center to leave items in memory of Kobe Bryant. “He showed everyone how to sacrifice... leave it all on the court," one fan said. The unexpected death of Kobe Bryant caused not only fans to mourn, but celebrities also gave messages regarding his death. Many events within the Grammy, Super Bowl, and professional sport games had given a special memorial for the basketball legend.
With the death of Kobe Bryant being a shock globally, individuals are sending their prayers to the Bryant family. A week after Bryant’s death, Vannessa Bryant (wife of Kobe Bryant, mother of Gianna Bryant) spoke out on Instagram regarding her daughter’s and husband’s death:
“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe - the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna - a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.
We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately.
There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon.
I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever.
Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality.
To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org.
To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSports Foundation.org. Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me.”
by Emillie Chi