Ryan Lattanzio. Sunday brought the sad news that American basketball icon Kobe Bryant has passed away at just 41 years old. Bryant was said to be traveling in his private helicopter when it crashed, causing a fire, and sending emergency personnel to the scene. No one on board survived and, as of this writing, at least five people are confirmed dead. His wife Vanessa Bryant was not among those on the helicopter. The athlete also won two Gold medals during the and Olympics. In the wake of the news, the Hollywood community has shared in the outpouring of grief via Twitter. IndieWire has rounded up reactions from Hollywood luminaries, below, with more to come.
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Not very many details have been released, but authorities have confirmed that the helicopter crashed somewhere in Calabasas, a suburb of Los Angeles, and that Bryant was among its five passengers—all of whom were killed. Bryant was He also played for the U. There, he began to focus on learning how to play basketball, studying tapes of NBA games including his longtime favorite team, the Lakers , and returning to the United States occasionally to play in summer leagues. Once the family moved back to America, Bryant began playing high school basketball and quickly made a name for himself as an extremely talented young player. Bryant chose to forego college in favor of going straight to the NBA, where he was picked up by the Hornets and then immediately traded to the Lakers as part of a draft deal. Bryant and the Lakers would also go on to win the title in the and seasons.
Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday.
I never met Kobe Bryant. I spent much of the past 20 years watching him play basketball, and I probably spent more time rooting against him than I ever did cheering for him. My most resonant memory of Bryant was Game 2 of the NBA Finals when he hit an off-balance three-pointer against my beloved Detroit Pistons, sending the game into overtime and a Pistons loss. But like so many Americans, when I saw the news that Bryant had died Sunday, along with his year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in Southern California, I felt gut-punched — as though I knew him personally. Superstar athletes — so capable of doing the seemingly impossible on a field of play — are supposed to be indestructible. They are not supposed to die in a helicopter crash in the prime of life. What took Kobe to heights of acclaim and superstardom — aside from the effervescent smile and otherworldly basketball skills — was the way he played the game. Shaq rumbled; Kobe glided. He floated up and down the court, effortlessly swishing jump shots or climbing among taller trees for fearsome dunks. Like the player whose game he most closely imitated — Michael Jordan — Kobe made it look far easier than it really was.