CALABASAS, Calif. (WBZ NewsRadio) — 41-year-old basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter 13 -year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, were among the nine people who were killed on Sunday morning when Bryant's helicopter crashed into the hills above Calabasas, Los Angeles.
Officials said the helicopter was seen bursting into flames shortly before 10 a.m. PST as it spiraled into the hills amid heavy fog, with nine total fatalities reported.
Bryant played his entire 20-year professional basketball career with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA championships, and two Olympic gold medals.
Bryant was widely considered one of the greatest basketball players of his generation. He was an 18-time All-Star, he appeared on the All-NBA Team 15 times, and the All-Defensive team 12 times.
Born in Philadelphia, Bryant entered the NBA straight out of high school in 1996 at age 17, when his parents had to cosign his $3.5 million contract with the Lakers. He went on to become a keystone player for the team.
He was also the youngest player in the NBA to reach 30,000 career points at 34 years and 104 days old.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has called Bryant "one of the greatest players in the history of our game," writing that Bryant had "one of the most decorated careers in the history of the sport."
In 2008 and 2016, ESPN ranked Bryant as the second best shooting guard of all time, behind his hero Michael Jordan.
Bryant's death comes one day after he sent congratulations to LeBron James for passing him on the NBA's All-time scoring leader board.