According to reports from The New York Times, the legendary NBA star who played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant, 41, was travelling with his 13-year-old daughter to his youth basketball academy when they and seven other people died in a helicopter crash. had been given special approval to fly in foggy weather. A witness said the fog on the morning of the crash was “as thick as swimming in a pool of milk.”
The helicopter flew north from Orange County after takeoff on Sunday morning and circled near Burbank, waiting for clearance to keep going. According to audio records between the helicopter’s pilot and air traffic control at Burbank Airport, the helicopter was given what is known as Special Visual Flight Rules clearance, meaning they could proceed through Burbank’s airspace on a foggy morning in Southern California.
Any special clearance from air traffic controllers would have allowed the pilot to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank and Van Nuys, but would not give the flight “blanket clearance” to continue on from there to Calabasas, according to a Federal Aviation Administration official.
“A pilot is responsible for determining whether it is safe to fly in current and expected conditions, and a pilot is also responsible for determining flight visibility,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.
Kobe Bryant had and will continue to inspire many people in the world and wanted to pass on his knowledge and skill to generations to come. In an interview with CNBC in 2016, the ball star stated,“Playing basketball, the focus is always on winning — winning championships, winning championships, winning championships,” Bryant said during a CNBC “Squawk on the Street” interview.
“Now, championships come and go. Right? There’s going to be another team that wins an NBA Championship, another player that wins another MVP award. But if you really want to create something that lasts generations, you have to help inspire the next generation.”
His passing has been tremendously felt from fellow teammates such as Shaquille O’Neal whom he acquired NBA championships with. The big man took to social media to tell the world about the man behind the athlete.
Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gigi was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah. pic.twitter.com/BHBPN5Wq8V
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020
As mentioned by Shaq, Kobe Bryant’s daughter, Gianna Bryant aka Gigi, also lost her life in the helicopter accident. A girls basketball team, comprised of players from the Boise area, was supposed to play Kobe’s team Sunday in the Mamba Tournament. The tournament was cancelled after news of the crash spread. CNN received a statement from one of the teammates of Gianna.
“A lot of people were doing different things like some people were praying in circles as a team. Others were just sobbing and didn’t really know what to do with themselves because it was such like huge news,” one teammate said.
“All of a sudden the games just stopped, the whole facility went silent. We heard some girls screaming. Nobody really quite knew what was going on until the news started to break ground and the message got around of the tragic stuff that happened with Kobe today” coach George Rodriguez said. “And, then just a gym full of thousands of people, and it was the eerie, dead silence of everybody looking at each other, not knowing what to do, what to say, you know lots of tears.”
As stated above, Kobe Bryant saw his daughter as the heir apparent to his prolific legacy. Kobe also admitted that Gigi had his competitive spirit since she was a toddler at the age of 3 when she was upset at losing a video game against him.
Worldwide Entertainment TV sends out prayers and condolences to the close friends and family members of Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant for their loss.