FINAL SHOT Heartbreaking pics show Kobe Bryant coaching daughter Gianna just hours before both died in helicopter crash.
HEARTBREAKING pictures show Kobe Bryant coaching his daughter Gianna at a youth basketball session a day before they died in a helicopter crash.
Proud dad Kobe, 41, couldn’t help but give Gianna, 13, pointers during the game at Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, on Saturday.
Gianna’s Mamba team played two eight grade girls games that day, and her father could be seen watching from the sidelines before heading onto the court to give advice to a team he often coached.
The teenager had expressed her love of the game in the past, and it was Gianna’s aspiration to one day play in the WNBA.
Kobe called his daughter Gianna “Mambacita” after his own court nickname, ‘Black Mamba’.
He was confident she would follow in his footsteps and become a professional basketball player.
Since he retired from the National Basketball Association in 2016, Bryant had been coaching Gianna’s middle-school basketball team.
In a November video Bryant posted on Instagram, she finishes a solo dribble by scoring the kind of fadeaway “swish” basket known as a “Kobe” after her father’s signature shot.
In 2018, Bryant was caught on video saying his daughter was “hell-bent” on playing for the University of Connecticut Huskies, one of the top teams in women’s college basketball.
The NBA star would regularly take Gianna and her teammates to watch professional basketball games, where he’d talk them through certain plays and situations.
Kobe and Gianna died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday, along with seven others.
The crash also claimed the lives of college baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; and one of the coaches at Kobe’s youth academy, Christina Mauser.
Kobe’s helicopter took off from Long Beach at 8:29 a.m PST on Sunday, then touched down again just eight minutes later in Orange County.
The helicopter then took off again 30 minutes later at 9:06 a.m. PST but never reached its final destination.
It was just 20 minutes into the flight when the plane began to circle in Burbank while speaking with flight control.
The pilot was then told to try and follow the freeways to the aircraft’s final destination of Camarillo.
This plan initially proved to be successful, with the helicopter making it north and then turning west towards Camarillo when it suddenly began to encounter problem in Calabasas.
Records show that at this point, the helicopter, which had stayed below 1000 feet for most of the trip, began to ascend as it approached the Santa Monica Mountains.
The plane was at 1750 feet and travelling at a speed of 161 knots when it crashed at around 9:47 am PST, killing all on board.
An investigation is currently underway and is being spearheaded by the LA County Sheriff’s Office and the National Safety and Transportation Board.
Press conferences were given at 2 pm PST and later 8 pm PST with updates, but officials were able to provide little information pending further investigation.
It was noted however that the terrain in the area of the crash is so treacherous that it will take officials a week before recovery efforts are complete.
The fatal crash came one day after LeBron James passed Bryant to reach third place in the NBA’s all-time scoring charts.
Late Saturday night, Bryant congratulated James on Twitter for “continuing to move the game forward.”
Bryant played his entire 20-year NBA career for the Lakers, and during that time he racked up 33,643 points, claimed five championships, and was selected as an NBA All-Star 18 times.
After TMZ broke the news of the accident, tributes from all sectors began to flood Twitter.
President Trump called the reports of Bryant’s death “terrible news.”
A “shocked” Michael Jordan lamented the passing of his “little brother” and the “amazing dad.”
Former teammate and Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal was “sick” and speechless over the loss of his “niece” and “brother.”
Former US President Barack Obama mourned the “heartbreaking” loss of the NBA great and his teenage daughter.
KOBE Bryant paid a touching tribute to his wife Vanessa Laine just weeks before he died along with their daughter in a helicopter crash.
Basketball star Kobe, 41, had first met Vanessa, 37, when she was at high school some 20 years ago.
And in a touching Instagram post the former Los Angeles Lakers star noted the milestone anniversary, calling his wife “Queen” and their four daughters “princesses”.
Penned just eight weeks before Kobe and the couple’s daughter Gianna, 13, died in yesterday’s tragic helicopter crash, the sportsman had written: “On this day 20 years ago I met my best friend, my Queen @vanessabryant I decided to take her on a date to Disneyland tonight to celebrate old school style (pre 4princesses).
“I love you my mamacita per sempre.”
The couple shared four daughters, Natalia, 17, Gianna, Bianka, four, and seven-month-old baby Capri Bryant who was born on June 20 last year.
Kobe was very close to his family and at the time of his retirement in 2016 released a now poignant statement, saying: “I’m so excited to see what God has in store for us as a family now that one chapter is closing and new ones are opening.”
The couple met in 1999 when Vanessa was working as a background model on a music video and were engaged just six months later.
Vanessa was aged just 17 while Kobe was 21 and had already played three seasons in the NBA.
At the time their relationship sparked a massive media frenzy with a television helicopter once flying over Vanessa’s high school campus to try to catch the couple together.
The intense attention over their relationship forced her to miss her high school prom.
They tied the knot in a romantic and low-key wedding in 2001.
But Kobe’s family reportedly did not attend the marriage because his parents were worried about him marrying so young, and the couple’s decision not to get a pre-nup.
However, in 2003, the same year that their first daughter Natalia was born, the couple’s relationship hit the rocks when Kobe was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old in a hotel in Colorado.
He said it was consensual, appearing at a press conference with his wife to admit to adultery.
The tearful star told his wife: “You’re my backbone. You’re a blessing. You’re a piece of my heart. You’re the air I breathe.”
He added: “And you’re the strongest person I know, and I’m so sorry for having to put you through this and having to put our family through this.”
The accuser later dropped all charges.
Then in 2005 the couple experienced tragedy when Vanessa suffered a devastating miscarriage due to an ectopic pregnancy.
He later blamed the stress he had put her through for the loss of the baby.
Speaking in the Showtime documentary, Kobe Bryant’s Muse he said of the miscarriage: “We should be building our family. But because of my mistake, because of this tough year, we lost a baby.”
The couple went on to have their second daughter, Gianna in 2006, but after ten years of marriage, Vanessa filed for divorce in 2011, citing “irreconcilable differences”.
She was expected to receive half of Kobe’s $150million fortune, but the couple patched things up and called off the divorce in 2013, before welcoming another daughter, Bianka in 2016.
Vanessa was not on board the helicopter when it came down, and is believed to have been at home at the time of the tragic crash.
Kobe and Gianna, herself a promising basketball player, were on their way to the Mamba Academy for basketball practice when the chopper crashed at around 10am – in conditions that had forced the LAPD to ground their own helicopters.
The seven other people on board were also killed.
The pilot – named locally as Ara Zobayan – was trying to turn the aircraft when it smashed into hills of Las Virgenes Canyon, which is home to celebrities including the Kardashians.
Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Kerry, and their daughter Alyssa were also among the dead.
Other victims were Christina Mauser, Bryant’s assistant coach in youth basketball, along with Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, who was reportedly a teammate of Gianna.
At age 34, Kobe became the youngest player in NBA history to surpass the 30,000 point mark. Speaking of putting up points, the guy was notorious for his 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. It was one of the greatest performances in modern NBA history.
Another major highlight from his long career was his final game in 2016 against the Utah Jazz, when he dropped 60 points and went out with a bang to help his team win. It was especially moving considering his injury-plagued years, which started in 2013 when he tore his Achilles tendon.
He was 41 years old. May his soul Rest In Peace- Amen
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