This day in history: NBA legend Kobe Bryant, 8 others killed in helicopter crash

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks at the Staples Center on Nov. 17, 2019. (Allen Berezovsky, 2019 Getty Images)

CALABASAS, Calif. – Thursday marks three years since the world received the devastating news that beloved NBA great Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

The Lakers legend was 41 years old and his daughter was 13 years old when they died in the crash on Jan. 26, 2020.

They were headed to Gianna’s basketball game at his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, when the helicopter crashed into the hillside due to foggy conditions, killing everyone on board.

The others killed in the crash were the pilot Ara Zobayan; Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, a coach of Gianna’s basketball team; and Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton. Alyssa and Payton were Gianna’s teammates.

Bryant won five NBA championships during his 20-year career with the Lakers, becoming one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history.

Among his many achievements, he was also selected to 18 NBA All-Star Games, winning four All-Star MVP awards. He was also the overall league MVP in 2008.

One of his most memorable accomplishments is when Bryant scored a staggering 81 points against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 23, 2016 -- the second-highest total in NBA history.

The accident shocked basketball fans and athletes from across the country and around the world.

Countless tributes were held to honor Bryant, his daughter and the seven others killed in the crash.

About the Author:

Ryan Mackey is our newest digital journalist at WPLG. He is New York born and South Florida raised.