Tributes pour in to mourn the loss of Kobe Bryant.
On Sunday, thousands of Bryant fans gathered in front of the Staples Center, the home of the LA Lakers where Bryant played, shortly after the news of his death circulated. Flowers, candles, and placards with prayers and prose of praise were a similar scene less than 10 months ago with the passing of slain rapper, Nipsey Hussle. Sadly ironic, a tribute to Hussle is scheduled for tonight’s Grammy awards.
However, Bryant, a beloved athlete who grew into a phenomenal franchise player as a Los Angeles Laker, is loved across the city in another way. Bryant was an all-star NBA player who won five championships while heading the Los Angeles Lakers. He retired in 2016 after 20 seasons with the basketball club.
Added to the growing numbers creating memorials, thousands of mourners inch their way to the area where Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and several more passengers died when the helicopter they traveled in caught fire and slammed into the hillside. Now, the 101 Freeway leading to the site of the helicopter crash, is at a standstill.
On Sunday, eight NBA games tipped off to a somber mood. “I just don’t have a lot to say. The news is just devastating to everybody who knew him,” said an emotional Doc Rivers, coach of the LA Clippers. “He had that DNA that very few athletes could have. The Tiger Woods. The Michael Jordans. I was getting to know him more since he retired . . . this is a tough one . . . and we have to go play.”
This afternoon, during an LA County Sheriff’s press conference, officials reported that a total of nine people perished. “This investigation is still ongoing,” said Chief Daryl Osby, Fire Chief of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The other names in the accident have yet to be released, but it is believed that one of Gianna’s teammate’s was on board. “It would be entirely inappropriate right now to identify anyone by name until the coroner has made that identification . . . It would be extremely disrespectful to understand that your loved who has perished and you learned about it through TMZ.”
The call of the crash came in a 9:47 a.m., but due to its location, paramedics and firefighters had to be lowered to the crash site which is located in the Calabasas hillside. The Federal Aviation Administration is already on scene investigating the incident.