Outside USF: Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash near Los Angeles

NBA legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash Sunday morning near Los Angeles.

The helicopter crashed around 9:47 a.m. amid foggy conditions in Calabasas, California, according to the Los Angeles Times. All nine on board, including the pilot, were confirmed dead, including Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, according to TMZ. His wife Vanessa and three other daughters were reportedly not on board.

The cause of the crash was not known at the time of publication.

Bryant was 41.

Considered one of the greatest players in NBA history, Bryant played 20 seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA championships and two NBA Finals MVPs. Bryant was an 18-time All-Star, winning the game’s MVP award four times. The Lakers retired both Nos. 8 and 24 in 2017 in honor of both numbers he wore with the franchise.

Bryant also won gold in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and in the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship.

“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. … We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world.”

Bryant was reportedly traveling to his Mamba Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, for a basketball game at the academy.

“Bryant was on his way to a travel basketball game with his daughter Gianna when the helicopter crashed. Those aboard the helicopter also included another player and parent,” Wojnarowski tweeted.

Bryant retired in 2016 as the NBA’s No. 3 all-time leading scorer with 33,643 points. On Saturday night, current Laker LeBron James surpassed Bryant by scoring 29 points against the Philadelphia 76ers — incidentally in Bryant’s hometown of Philadelphia.

“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644,” Bryant tweeted after James surpassed him.

Reaction amongst the sports world — and the world in general — was immediate, including tweets by Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, former NBA point guard Tony Parker, former U.S. Women’s National Team player Brandi Chastain, Fox Sports personality Skip Bayless, TV icon Ellen DeGeneres, President Donald Trump, former President Barack Obama, among many more.

“There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed [sic],” tweeted former teammate Shaquille O’Neal. “IM SICK RIGHT NOW.” 

A memorial popped up outside Staples Center, the home of the Lakers since 1999, almost immediately. 

Meanwhile, NBA teams held moments of silence Sunday night. Additionally, the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs each let their first possession end in 24-second shot-clock violations, in honor of Bryant’s No. 24, while fans in San Antonio chanted “Kobe.”