NBA legend Kobe Bryant and daughter die in tragic helicopter crash

Whether a basketball fan or not, there is hardly anyone on the planet that doesn’t know the name Kobe Bryant as synonymous with the burning desire for excellence in sports.

Bryant’s flame was extinguished on Sunday. He and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, along with three other individuals, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., according to ESPN. Bryant was 41 years old. He is survived by his wife Vanessa and daughters Natalia, Bianca, and newborn daughter Capri.

Known as one of the greatest players in NBA history, Bryant spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning numerous championships and breaking several NBA records.

He was also a martial artist who trained under Bruce Lee’s martial arts philosophy of Jeet Kune Do. Though he never fought, Bryant was a prolific fight fan, having found his love for mixed martial arts in the late 2000s. 

“Scorecards can’t hide a guy getting punched in the face. You can see all the art that takes place in MMA, so I gravitated towards that,” Bryant told during a promotional press conference that partnered his Body Armor brand with the UFC in 2017.

“I brought my wife to several fights and she enjoyed it. There was more so the artistry that takes place, snap, snap, because you’re making decisions in really quick moments that could either win you the fight or cost you the fight, but understanding the dance that takes place between that. What is the science between that, making these decisions (is what) really pulled me in. It was probably in about 2008.”

The helicopter in the crash was Bryant’s private aircraft. He had been using the helicopter for several years as a common means of  transportation. He and his daughter were reportedly en route to a basketball game at the time of the crash.

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