Lakers legend Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash on Sunday at the age of 41.
There were nine people killed in the helicopter that went down around 10 a.m. PST in Calabasas, Calif, officials said. Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who were on their way to a travel basketball game, were among those dead, according to multiple reports, confirming the initial TMZ story.
Bryant has been flying via helicopter for years, going back to his playing days to avoid LA traffic.
Also on the chopper was Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, along with his wife and daughter, according to the Brewster Whitecaps -- the team that Altobelli used to coach.
With the news breaking before the slate of NBA games began on Sunday, the Nuggets and Rockets are still playing their contest in Denver with the Pepsi Center holding a moment of silence before tip-off. The Knicks and Nets still played as scheduled at 6 p.m.
"The Knicks organization is in mourning over today's tragic event involving Kobe Bryant," Knicks interim head coach Mike Miller said in an impromtu pre-game statement. "He was not only a basketball icon, but a global icon. [He was] someone that many in our locker room holds in high regard. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the Laker family as well."
Bryant was one of the best players to ever play basketball, an 18-time All-Star whose impact on and off the hardwood was felt globally. Dubbed the "Black Mamba," Bryant's knack for clutch moments and being one of the most feared players in the game began when he entered the league in 1996, as the 13th overall pick by Los Angeles, to the day he left in 2016, after dropping 60 points against the Jazz at the Staples Center.
Bryant has scored the fourth-most points in NBA history with 33,643, with LeBron James just passing him on that list Saturday night. He was a five-time NBA Finals champion and the 2007-08 NBA MVP. Averaging 25 points per game over his career, while shooting 45 percent from the field, Bryant made 15 All-NBA teams as well.