On Sunday, January 26th, 2020, former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash. It was a shocking event, leaving the city of Los Angeles stunned and the world shocked as one of the greatest basketball players ever was taken from us all.
Though many know of Kobe for his legendary exploits, he came from a basketball legacy himself. Kobe’s father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, played in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers, San Diego Clippers and Houston Rockets and has coached in the WNBA and overseas. Kobe was his only son, who of course went on to win 5 championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Despite their shared interests, it was known that their relationship was close but also strained in other ways, like a lot of families. It’s no shock that Jellybean is grieving, and pictures have emerged of him outside of his home in Las Vegas picking up a bouquet of flowers left on his doorstep on Monday, according to the Daily Mail.
Kobe’s father shares the home with Kobe’s mother, Pamela Cox – herself basketball royalty, being the sister of CBA and NBA player John “Chubby” Cox. Cox played with numerous teams before finally landing with the Washington Bullets in the early 80’s. Kobe’s relationship with his parents has been tested before in the press, which lead to the rift between them – but according to an friend of Joe Bryant, they’d been seen embracing each other at a basketball camp recently.
The rift was initially caused back in 2013 when his parents tried to sell some of his memorabilia. Kobe told ESPN in 2016 about the incident. “Our relationship is s–t. I say, ‘I’m going to buy you a very nice home,’ and the response is, ‘That’s not good enough?’ Then you’re selling my s–t?” It was also alleged that his mother and wife didn’t get along, which also put additional pressure on the NBA superstar.
Also killed in the crash were Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant – affectionately known as “Mambacita,” as she was a phenom in her own right and was following in the footsteps of her famous father, who supported her choices fully.
Deceased also include baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their basketball-playing daughter Alyssa; mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester; Mamba Academy basketball coach Christina Mauser; and pilot Ara Zobayan. Though investigations are on-going, it was more than likely due to low visibility that the helicopter crashed in Calabasas.