NBA Rumor: Kobe Bryant Death

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Luka Doncic shares advice Kobe Bryant gave him after he was drafted

Luka Doncic recently discussed a plethora of topics with JJ Redick on The Old Man and the Three podcast. And he recalled one of his first interactions with Kobe Bryant. “I met him before; it was in Portland just after I was drafted, it was the Nike campus,” Doncic said on the March 18 episode. “He was there, and the one advice he gave me was, ‘Watch out, they’re gonna come after you because you’re from Europe. They’re gonna try and go after you.’ And it was true.” It seems Doncic believes that some players have attempted to go after him in games because of his international success. But whether they have actually targeted him or not, it hasn’t seemed to faze him.

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Two years ago Wednesday, nine people perished in a helicopter crash in the hills northwest of Los Angeles, including the NBA legend and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Vanessa Bryant and her three other daughters are among those who have been trying to cope ever since. “Would you say you’ve been getting better or getting worse, you know?” the attorney asked her in a legal proceeding Oct. 12. “How do you feel?” “Grief isn’t linear,” Vanessa Bryant replied, according to a partial transcript of it filed in court last week. “It’s – every day is different, and I try to my best to put a smile on my face for my little girls. I want them to live in the love and not in the loss. And I make a conscious effort to try to portray that everything’s fine for them.”

Understandable anguish persists. In her deposition testimony in October, Miller asked her if she still was seeing her previous therapist. “I have stopped,” she replied, according to the partial transcript filed last week. “I don’t like – I don’t have the ability to talk to him because it puts me in a difficult space and I need to – I don’t want to bring those feelings up to surface.” She also said she didn’t start seeing another therapist because “I don’t like talking about everything that happened. I internalize a lot.”

Weeks before her lawsuit is set to go to trial, lawyers for Vanessa Bryant allege photos of the crash that killed her husband, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, their daughter, and others were shared widely, according to court documents. “Discovery has shown that the close-up photos of Gianna and Kobe’s remains were passed around on at least twenty-eight Sheriff’s Department devices and by at least a dozen firefighters, and shown off in bars and at an awards gala,” says a filing from Bryant’s lawyers filed Thursday. “It has also shown that Defendants engaged in a cover up, destroying the direct forensic evidence of their misconduct and requiring extensive circumstantial evidence to establish the full extent of that misconduct.”

Cruz had photos of the carnage on his phone, forwarded to him by another deputy. About 9:30 that Tuesday night, bar surveillance footage captured him showing his phone to the bartender. Cruz appeared to make a downward slashing motion with his arm, as if to indicate the nature of the injuries on display. In a nearby booth sat Ralph Mendez, a 46-year-old real estate investor. He was there with buddies from his softball league. They did not hear the conversation. But soon the bartender came over to explain that the muscular man who had just left was a deputy, and had shown him photos of Bryant’s remains.

When he got home to Cerritos, he sat in his driveway and took out his phone. He went to the sheriff’s office website. He found the Contact Us link, and wrote: There was a deputy at Baja California Bar and Grill in Norwalk who was at the Kobe Bryant crash site showing pictures of his … body. He was working the day the helicopter went down … He is a young deputy, shaved head with tattoos on his arm … He hesitated, then hit “submit.” It was 12:21 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29. The email soon reached Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who quickly offered deputies amnesty from discipline if they came clean and deleted the photos.

Here’s what Gasol mentioned on the matter while describing a segment from his upcoming documentary “It’s all about the journey” that shows his reaction to Kobe’s death. Per Marca: “The objective of the documentary was to show the personal side and to be authentic. To be transparent with what was happening and unfortunately, this tragic accident took place and it was a very hard blow that is still being digested. We could not hide it, although for me it was hard. But Kobe had meant so much in my life that it was a way to convey those feelings in the most natural way possible. It took me a long time to sleep well, there were a lot of crying and a lot of pain.”

Bryant detailed that after the flurry of notifications saying “RIP Kobe,” she went to pick up her daughter Natalia, who had been attending a college entrance exam prep class that morning. “I told her that Daddy and Gigi were in an accident. Not to worry. I’m sure they’re fine because there’s five survivors,” Bryant recalled telling her daughter. “And I’m sure Daddy and Gigi are fine. I just felt, I knew that they would be helping people.”

But then a family assistant knocked on the door around 11:30 a.m. that Sunday and told Bryant that her husband, Kobe Bryant, and their daughter Gianna had been in a helicopter accident, according to a transcript of a deposition of Bryant in a lawsuit between her and Los Angeles County. The assistant said that five people had survived the crash that day, Jan. 26, 2020. Bryant said that she figured Kobe and Gianna would be among them and would be helping the other victims. But as she tried to call her husband, notifications began popping up on her phone: R.I.P. Kobe. R.I.P. Kobe. “My life will never be the same without my husband and daughter,” Bryant said during the deposition.

Bryant said that after she was told that she could not fly to the crash site, she met up with Rob Pelinka, the Lakers general manager who served as Kobe’s agent during part of his N.B.A. career. Pelinka, Bryant said, drove them during the hour-and-forty-five-minute trip to the sheriff’s station in Malibu, near the crash site. At the sheriff’s station, Bryant said “no one would answer” questions about her husband and daughter. She was escorted back and forth between rooms, and after a long wait, she said, a pastor walked in and then Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva came with a publicist. Bryant said she wanted privacy and asked the publicist to leave the room.

She said a family assistant knocked on the door about 11:30 a.m. that day, nearly two hours after the crash happened at about 9:45 a.m. “She told me that there was an accident and that there were five survivors,” Bryant testified in the deposition on Zoom from Newport Beach. “And I asked her if Gianna and Kobe were okay. And she said she wasn’t sure. She didn’t know.” She then tried calling her husband and her mother. “We got in the car,” she testified. “And I had to drive to my daughter Natalia’s ACT class. She was getting ready for her ACT prep. And I picked her up and I told her that Daddy and Gigi were in an accident. Not to worry. I’m sure they’re fine because there’s five survivors. And I’m sure Daddy and Gigi are fine. I just felt, I knew that they would be helping people.”

The county has said the photos taken from the crash scene were not publicly disseminated and not posted on the internet but has acknowledged that a trainee deputy showed a photo to a bartender. Miller asked Bryant how she suffered emotional distress from the showing of pictures to a bartender. “I have my husband’s and my daughter’s clothing in my possession,” she replied. “And I can say that they – they suffered a lot. And if their clothes represent the condition of their bodies, I cannot imagine how someone could be so callous and have no regard for them or our friends, and just share the images as if they were animals on a street. We’re not talking about – I really don’t want to get into details. I can only say that their clothing represents a lot.” “You keep that clothing in your house?” Miller asked. “I had to recover all their items because I know people are sick and would like to take pictures of them and share them,” Bryant replied. “So I wanted to make sure that I recovered everything that I possibly could.”

Los Angeles County is calling out Vanessa Bryant … claiming she’s subjecting Sheriff’s deputies to harassment by revealing their names in the lawsuit she filed over photos taken at the Kobe helicopter crash site. According to new legal docs, obtained by TMZ, attorneys for L.A. County say Kobe Bryant’s widow is aggressively conducting a “fishing expedition that is taking first responders away from their jobs.” The County is referring to the fact Vanessa posted the names of 4 deputies who allegedly took pics of remains.

Two Los Angeles County firefighters could be fired and a third suspended after some first responders took and shared graphic photos from the site of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his teenage daughter and seven others, court documents say. The court documents were filed Monday as part of widow Vanessa Bryant’s federal lawsuit against Los Angeles County that alleges invasion of privacy. The filings propose that a Nov. 16 trial be postponed five months to April 27, 2022, because of a large amount of material that attorneys need to review. Kobe Bryant and the others were killed Jan. 26, 2020, when the helicopter they were aboard crashed west of Los Angeles. Federal safety officials blamed pilot error for the wreck that killed the basketball star, whom Michael Jordan will present for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Jordan still can’t speak of Kobe without a little hitch in his voice, a catch of emotion that hasn’t subsided since he spoke at Bryant’s memorial service last February and openly wept over the loss of his “little brother.” As the tears streamed down his face, Jordan joked about creating a new Jordan crying meme for the thirsty social media throngs. “I told my wife I wouldn’t do this, because I didn’t want to see it for the next three or four years,” Jordan said on that day. “This is what Kobe Bryant does to me. He knows how to get to you in a way that affects you personally … even if he is a pain in the ass.”

Jordan smiled, then decided to have a little fun. “He was really into coaching Gigi,” MJ explains, “so I hit him up about that.” “Happy holidays,” Jordan texted back, “and hope to catch up soon. Coach Kobe??!” “I added that little crying/laughing emoji,” Jordan chuckles. “Ah, back at you, man,” Kobe wrote. “Hey, coach, I’m sitting on the bench right now, and we’re blowing this team out. 45-8.” Eleven days following that exchange, Bryant learned he had been officially nominated for the Hall of Fame as a first-ballot entry. Forty-nine days later, he was gone. “I just love that text,” Jordan says, “because it shows Kobe’s competitive nature.”

Jordan says about six months ago he sent Vanessa a text to check in on her. “I told her, ‘Look, I know this is a tough time. I’m always here if you need me,'” Jordan says. “She answered back, ‘I would love it if you stood up for Kobe at the Hall of Fame.’ “It’s going to be a great honor, to be honest. It’s like standing up for a family member. He paid me the highest respect by trying to emulate certain things I did. And I can only repay that by showing my support and admiration for a guy who I felt was one of the greatest to ever play the game.”

The county of Los Angeles said it took “corrective personnel actions” against any employees who improperly shared photos from the scene of Kobe Bryant’s death last year, but said the photos were not publicly disseminated and that Bryant’s widow is wrong to file a lawsuit over it. The county gave this account in a court filing recently submitted in response to the lawsuit filed last year by Vanessa Bryant, widow of the basketball legend. She is suing the county for invasion of privacy and has accused four Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies of improperly sharing photos of the dead at the site of Bryant’s fatal helicopter crash in January 2020, including one who allegedly showed the photos at a bar two days after the accident.

In an Instagram post Wednesday, Vanessa Bryant named four Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies who allegedly took and shared unauthorised graphic photos of the helicopter crash that killed her husband Kobe, daughter Gianna and seven others. Bryant posted images of lawsuit documents she filed against Los Angeles County, the sheriff’s department, the county fire department and the four deputies in question. Those names were initially redacted while a judge determined whether they could be revealed, a decision that went in her favour earlier this month.

Vanessa Bryant wants to publicly name four Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who her lawyers allege shared “unauthorized” photos of the site of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, Kobe Bryant, their daughter and seven others. County lawyers, however, want to keep the deputies’ names under seal, arguing that releasing them would make the deputies’ addresses and other personal information only a click away on the internet and that hackers could target them.

Bryant’s lawyers, led by Luis Li, a former top L.A. city prosecutor, said in court papers that the county could not cite a single case in which a police officer being sued for civil rights violations has been allowed to remain anonymous. The lawyers argued there is no compelling reason to hide the deputies’ identities, noting that the case cited as precedent by the county in its effort to hide the identities involves sexual harassment victims.

The suit alleges that a deputy trainee guarding a trail that leads to the crash site also received multiple photos of Bryant’s remains and shared them with others, “including several members of the public.” Two days after the crash, he showed the photos to his niece, the suit said. The deputy trainee later went to a Norwalk bar and showed gruesome photographs from the crash scene to a woman and a bartender, and is seen on the bar security camera zooming in and out on the images while displaying them to the bartender, according to the suit. One of the photos showed a girl’s body and another of the basketball star, according to the amended complaint.

The NTSB said in June it found evidence showing Zobayan thought he was ascending over the fog, when in reality, the helicopter was going downward. Autopsy results showed Zobayan was NOT on alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash … and NTSB investigators said Zobayan’s girlfriend told them he was in great shape before the accident. Unclear if there’s new evidence to refute the earlier theory, but it seems likely to us the NTSB will confirm its earlier findings.

Derek Fisher: One of the many ways I am reminded of how special they are and how they are still sending us love is how often I glance at my phone during a hectic day to check the time and it’s 2:24 and they’re both smiling right at me like “what’s up Fish?!” and instantly my perspective shifts to what really matters. Your loss and the loss of those with you on this day 1 year ago will leave a hole in our hearts forever. We miss you both. The world really misses you both. We lift your families up in prayer. V, the girls, your family as well as the Bryant family. We lift all the families up in prayer ????

With emotions still raw, the Lakers organization has no plans to make this Tuesday, Jan. 26, any more difficult than it already will be by placing any further emphasis on the anniversary, sources told ESPN. There will be no Black Mamba uniforms worn Monday in Cleveland, the day before the anniversary, or Wednesday in Philadelphia, the day after. There will be no formal tribute, which could potentially draw more attention to the harrowing details of the accident and cause more trauma than healing.

The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a hearing on Feb. 9 to determine the cause of the helicopter crash a year ago that killed Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others when it struck a fog-covered hillside in Calabasas. The NTSB, in a preliminary report, ruled out engine and mechanical failure on the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter. But it has yet to provide a probable cause for the Jan. 26, 2020 crash.

Zobayan told air traffic control they were “climbing” to 4,000 feet, when in reality the aircraft was descending. The NTSB’s aircraft performance study said the helicopter banked left and away from the 101 Freeway while communicating with the controller. According to the study, the pilot “could have misperceived both pitch and roll angles,” according to the NTSB documents. “When a pilot misperceives altitude and acceleration it is known as the ‘somatogravic illusion’ and can cause spatial disorientation,” the report said. In other words, acceleration could cause a pilot to sense his aircraft was climbing when it was not.

Describe the day you learned about the Kobe Bryant tragedy. Steve Nash: I was playing at tennis in L.A., and I felt … almost nothing, in that I just went cold and numb, and I don’t know if it was a defense mechanism, shock or … It took me a long time to really — and I still think I’m coming to grips with it’s actually true. It doesn’t feel real. Having competed my whole career against him, playing with him for a year basically, I hadn’t seen him probably since 2016, and so, you always feel like he’s there and we’ll cross paths one day again. It’s been very difficult for me to come to grips with it.

Vanessa Bryant has denied that she kicked her mom out of her home and attacked her for having the ‘audacity’ to make these claims in a TV interview while she is grieving the loss of her husband Kobe and their daughter Gianna. The widow of NBA star Kobe was forced to defend herself after her mother Sofia Laine gave an explosive interview to Univision airing Monday where she wept that her daughter had evicted her and stripped her of some of her belongings.

Bryant blasted Laine for ‘shedding tears for a car and a house that were not in her name’ while she continues to mourn for Kobe and 13-year-old Gianna, who both died in a tragic California helicopter crash back in January. She accused her mom of hiding her diamonds and furniture ‘to make it look like she doesn’t have my support’ and slammed her for proving what is ‘most important’ to her.

Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against the estate of pilot Ara Zobayan and the helicopter company, Island Express Helicopters, on Feb. 24 — the day of Kobe and Gianna’s public memorial at the Staples Center. On Friday, according to court documents obtained by USA TODAY Sports, lawyers representing the Zobayan estate filed a motion to move the trial from Los Angeles to Orange County (or elsewhere), where the defense team believes a fairer trial can take place, despite its close proximity to LA. All of the victims of the crash resided in Orange County.

The family of Ara Zobayan is begging a judge to move Vanessa Bryant’s wrongful death case out of L.A. because Kobe Bryant is so popular there, it would be impossible to get a fair trial. Ara’s family spelled it out in new court docs, obtained by TMZ Sports … saying the trial would begin with “two strikes” already against him “due to the extreme level of popularity of plaintiff with the jury pool.” As we previously reported, Vanessa sued Zobayan along with Island Express Helicopters saying they should be held financially responsible for the crash that killed Kobe, Gianna and 6 other passengers.

“The notoriety and popularity of the late Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles County is detailed herein and reached a level that left no person in the county unaware of his role in branding Los Angeles as his city,” Zobayan’s family says in new court docs. “No other single individual in recent memory, sports figure or otherwise, has been considered by the people to be such a personification of their city of Los Angeles. ” “But with that unprecedented level of acclaim comes a lack of impartiality and objectivity by potential jurors about the merits under the law of the claims asserted in this lawsuit by the Bryant family.”

Cate Brady, a personal assistant to Bryant, has told National Transportation Safety Board investigators that the NBA legend asked for the doomed flight to be moved forward 45 minutes. Brady said the original flight time for Sunday was 9:45 am, but Bryant had it rescheduled to 9am because he wanted to see another team play before his daughter’s game at a youth basketball tournament. “That particular day, for Sunday, I actually changed the time the night before, probably around 6pm or 7pm,” Brady said. “Because Kobe had decided he wanted to go to watch another team play before his game. “So it was supposed to be a 9:45am departure, but the night before it was changed to a 9am departure.”

Vanessa Bryant, wife of the late Kobe Bryant, is urging Congress to pass a new helicopter safety bill named for her husband and daughter who were killed in a crash earlier this year. “I strongly urge that the United States Congress pass a federal law that would improve the safety of helicopters operating in this country,” she said in statement. “I believe there is a chance that Kobe and Gianna would still be alive today if their helicopter had been equipped with the safety equipment required by this pending federal legislation.”

Cate Brady, a personal assistant to Bryant, has told National Transportation Safety Board investigators that the NBA legend asked for the doomed flight to be moved forward 45 minutes. Brady said the original flight time for Sunday was 9:45 am, but Bryant had it rescheduled to 9am because he wanted to see another team play before his daughter’s game at a youth basketball tournament. “That particular day, for Sunday, I actually changed the time the night before, probably around 6pm or 7pm,” Brady said. “Because Kobe had decided he wanted to go to watch another team play before his game. “So it was supposed to be a 9:45am departure, but the night before it was changed to a 9am departure.”

Vanessa Bryant, wife of the late Kobe Bryant, is urging Congress to pass a new helicopter safety bill named for her husband and daughter who were killed in a crash earlier this year. “I strongly urge that the United States Congress pass a federal law that would improve the safety of helicopters operating in this country,” she said in statement. “I believe there is a chance that Kobe and Gianna would still be alive today if their helicopter had been equipped with the safety equipment required by this pending federal legislation.”

Kobe Bryant's helicopter pilot may have been disoriented at time of crash

The pilot of the helicopter that crashed in thick fog, killing Kobe Bryant and seven other passengers, reported he was climbing when he actually was descending, federal investigators said in documents released Wednesday. Ara Zobayan radioed to air traffic controllers that he was climbing to 4,000 feet to get above clouds on Jan. 26 when, in fact, the helicopter was plunging toward a hillside where it crashed northwest of Los Angeles.

The report by the National Transportation Safety Board said Zobayan may have “misperceived” the angles at which he was descending and banking, which can happen when a pilot becomes disoriented in low visibility. “Calculated apparent angles at this time show that the pilot could have misperceived both pitch and roll angles,” one report stated. “During the final descent the pilot, responding to (air traffic control), stated that they were climbing to four thousand.”

During his two seasons as Bryant’s teammate, Black and Bryant became close. As luck would have it, an injury during his 2019-20 season in Israel sent him back to Los Angeles earlier than normal and he was able to see Bryant one final time just a week before the helicopter accident. It was the first time the two had seen each other since their days as teammates. And Black, unaware of what fate lied ahead, made sure to make the encounter count. “I actually got a chance to thank him for what he meant for my life,” Black said. “And he just kept saying, ‘I’m proud of you.’ So it rocked me to my core when I heard about his passing.”

So, here’s how it breaks down. Island Express says in its answer, “Kobe Bryant and GB [Gigi] had actual knowledge of all of the circumstances, particular dangers, and an appreciation of the risks involved and the magnitude thereof, and proceeded to encounter a known risk, and voluntarily assumed the risk of the accident, injury … thereby barring or reducing [Vanessa’s] claim for damages.” Island Express never explains how a 13-year-old girl appreciates such risks, and while we’re on the subject, did anyone know helicopters are so dangerous that passengers who dare to board do so at their own peril? If that’s the case, how come Island Express didn’t have a big sign in front of the helicopter?

The answer to the complaint filed by Berge Zobayan in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday disputed the lawsuit’s claims. “Any injuries or damages to plaintiffs and/or their decedent were directly caused in full or in part by the negligence or fault of plaintiffs and/or their decedent, including their knowing and voluntary encounter with the risks involved, and that this negligence was a substantial factor in causing their purported damages, for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility,” the answer said.

Family members of four of the eight passengers killed in a helicopter crash with Kobe Bryant and his daughter have joined the NBA star’s widow in filing wrongful death lawsuits against the companies that owned and operated the aircraft. The suits on behalf of three members of one family, and a woman who helped coach Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter in basketball, were filed electronically Sunday in Los Angeles Superior Court. The pair of lawsuits comes about two months after Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, the mother of Gianna, also sued Island Express Helicopters Inc., which operated the Sikorsky, and its owner, Island Express Holding Corp.

Family members of four of the eight passengers killed in a helicopter crash with Kobe Bryant and his daughter have joined the NBA star’s widow in filing wrongful death lawsuits against the companies that owned and operated the aircraft. The suits on behalf of three members of one family, and a woman who helped coach Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter in basketball, were filed electronically Sunday in Los Angeles Superior Court. The pair of lawsuits comes about two months after Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, the mother of Gianna, also sued Island Express Helicopters Inc., which operated the Sikorsky, and its owner, Island Express Holding Corp.

The families of four of the victims who perished in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, have filed wrongful death lawsuits themselves — this after Vanessa Bryant has already gone after the chopper company in court. The surviving members of the Altobelli family and Mauser family — the remaining two Altobelli children and Christina Mauser’s husband, her son and 2 daughters, respectively — claim the Island Express’s negligence was reason for the death of their loved ones.

The families of four of the victims who perished in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, have filed wrongful death lawsuits themselves — this after Vanessa Bryant has already gone after the chopper company in court. The surviving members of the Altobelli family and Mauser family — the remaining two Altobelli children and Christina Mauser’s husband, her son and 2 daughters, respectively — claim the Island Express’s negligence was reason for the death of their loved ones.
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