On January 26, North American National Basketball Association (NBA) legend Kobe Bryant, 41, lost his life in a helicopter crash in California in the United States. The crash that occurred on a hillside in Calabasas located about 30 miles (48,28 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles killed eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter, Giana.
“The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 this morning. Nobody on the ground was hurt. The FAA and NTSB are investigating,” the city of Calabasas tweeted.
The group were reportedly traveling in a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter. According to CNN meteorologist Michael Guy, there was extremely low visibility at the time of the crash.
The identities of the other victims of the crash have yet to be revealed, with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva saying at a press conference: “It would be entirely inappropriate right now to identify anyone by name.”
US President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences, saying: “Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the truly great basketball players of all time, was just getting started in life. He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating.”
Netizens are reportedly accusing Trump’s Twitter tribute to Bryant as a plagiarized version of former US President Barack Obama’s – who had sent his condolences two hours prior to Trump’s.
Obama’s tweet reads: “Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.” Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers visited Obama in the White House in January 2010 to celebrate the team’s 15th championship title, won in the 2009 NBA Championship.
Bryant played his entire professional career for the Los Angeles Lakers. He won two Olympic gold medal for men’s basketball and was the fourth on the NBA all-time scoring list. He leaves behind three other daughters and his wife, Vanessa.