Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash, sources say


(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant celebrates his 3-pointer against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second quarter at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015.

Noah Powers, Sports Editor

CALABASAS, Calif. — On Sunday,  sports fans woke to the startling news that former NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash. He was 41.

The incident was initially reported by TMZ.

The crash reportedly took place near Calabasas. There were no survivors. An earlier tweet from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office confirmed that a crash occurred this morning and that five people were killed. The number of victims is now reported to be nine, including Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. The helicopter was on its way to a travel basketball game in which Gianna and at least one other passenger were participating.

According to other reports from the LA County Sheriff’s office, the crash occurred around 10 a.m. on a hillside at Las Virgenes Road and Willow Glen Street. The Los Angeles Times reported that the crash ignited a brush fire, making it difficult for emergency services to get to the aircraft.

Bryant was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996 but was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers before the start of the season. He spent his entire playing career with the Lakers until his retirement in 2016.

Bryant led the Lakers to five NBA championships, was a two-time NBA Finals MVP, was named the NBA season MVP in 2008 and was an 18-time NBA All-Star, as well as many other notable accomplishments. He averaged 25 points per game over his career, totaling out at 33,643 career points.

He also gained attention for his notable work in the field of philanthropy, including After-School All-Stars — a program geared toward creating after-school programs for children.

New information on the incident will be reported as it is released. Follow @NoahPowersSH for updates as well.