Kobe Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna was also on board the helicopter that crashed and took the lives of all nine passengers, including the NBA Legend, outside Los Angeles on a Sunday.
Gianna Maria Onore was just 13 years old and a budding basketball star following in the footsteps of her legendary father. Reports said they were en route to the Mamba Academy for a basketball practice when the crash occurred Sunday morning.
Gianna, who was commonly referred to as “GiGi,” was the second oldest of Bryant’s four daughters, with the age range of 17 years to seven months old. For the past two years, Bryant coached Gianna’s AAU team on his Mamba Sports Academy training facility in Thousand Oaks.
In a 2018 appearance on the popular TV show “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Bryant said Gianna always had aspirations of one day playing in the WNBA.
“This kid, man. I’m telling you,”
“The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans will come up to me, she’ll be standing next to me, and they’ll be like, ‘Hey, you got to have a boy. You and V got to have a boy, man, you got to have somebody carry on your tradition, the legacy.’ She’s like, ‘Oy. I’ve got this. We don’t need no boy for that.’ And I’m like, ‘yes you do. You’ve got this.'”
Several eyewitnesses say they heard the helicopter sputtering before the crash happened, and immediately burst into flames as it hits the ground.
According to a news conference held by Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, the authorities are still currently investigating the cause of the crash. The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter they used went down in Calabasas, California, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Weather reports from the crash area showed low clouds and restricted visibility, which may have obscured high terrain. Los Angeles Fire Department said the helicopter crash started a quarter-acre brush fire and was quickly extinguished. Hours after the crash, white smoke from the helicopter was seen from nearby Highway 101.
Bryant routinely traveled by helicopter during and after his NBA run, and a huge number of fans descended upon the crash scene to pay their respects.
Our hearts break for the Bryant family.
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