A helicopter crash outside Los Angeles on Sunday, January 26, 2020, killed the basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people who were flying to a basketball tournament. Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest basketball players of all time and an internationally recognizable NBA superstar. Family members and friends of the affected victims have identified the others killed in the crash as Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, Gianna’s basketball teammate Alyssa Altobelli, her mother Keri, and her father John. A basketball assistant coach, Christina Mauser, was also killed in the crash, as was Payton Chester, another basketball teammate, and Payton’s mother Sarah.
Here is all that we know about the crash victims.
The death of NBA all-time greatest shocked the world on Sunday and he leaves a complicated but well-deserved legacy. Kobi Bryant will be remembered as one of the most iconic basketball players of all time. Kobi Bryant finished with 33,643 points, good for fourth. Bryant created a pop philosophy he called the “The Mamba Mentality” an approach in life that required extreme focus, discipline, and enthusiasm for taking all comers. “I always aimed to kill the opposition,” he once said. The Mamba grew into an iconic persona all its own. Now the world cannot fathom that it’s gone at age 41.
See premium traveller’s review at Bryant’s life and career here.
Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant was the second daughter of Kobe and Vanessa’s four daughters and was following in her father’s footsteps as a rising basketball star herself. She was born May 1, 2006, and she was an American middle basketball player from Los Angeles, California. Nicknamed Gigi, she attended Harbor day school in Newport Beach. According to the Times, Bryant said in 2018 that Gianna was “hellbent” on playing basketball at the University of Connecticut. She planned to play for the WNBA the women’s counterpart to the National Basketball Association. Gianna played basketball at the Mamba Sports Academy, a training facility in Thousand Oaks, Calif and was reportedly on her way to the academy, along with her father and some teammates, to play in a basketball tournament. Bryant coached the facility.
John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli
John Altobelli, a baseball coach at Orange Coast College, was on board the helicopter with his wife, Keri, and his youngest daughter, Alyssa according to the Orange Coast College (OCC) Pirate Athletics. Altobelli is survived by his son J.J and daughter Lexi, helped lead the Pirates to the 2019 state baseball championship last year and was named the National Coach of the year by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) this offseason.
OCC athletics director Jason Kehler said Altobelli, 56, was about to start his 28th season as the coach of the school’s baseball team. Kehler called Altobelli a “tremendous coach and even better friend”. He also added that he was an “amazing mentor” to the students and athletes he trained and taught. Altobelli led the baseball team to more than 700 wins across his 27 years with the team. Associate head coach Nate Johnson will take over from Altobelli and he said to a large group that gathered at the school’s baseball field on Sunday. “If your son played for him, he treated him like a son. If you coached for him, he treated you like a brother. If you worked for him, you were part of his family.” Altobelli’s 13-year-old daughter, Alyssa, was a basketball teammate of Gianna Bryant and was on the helicopter with her parents when it crashed.
Sarah and Payton Chester
Payton Chester 13, and her mother, Sarah Chester 45 were among the victims of Sunday’s helicopter crash. The mother and daughter lived in Orange county. Payton played on the Mamba basketball team with Gianna and Alyssa, her uncle and Sarah’s brother, Andy George said. The mother and daughter are survived by husband and father Chris, and sons and brothers Hayden and Riley. According to CNN whenever there was a new kid at Harbor View Elementary School, Todd Schmidt knew he could count on Payton Chester. “If I had a new student, I could go to Payton and several of her friends and they would just make sure that person, from the moment, that she met him, would feel at ease, at home and just of the Harbor View Family,” Schmidt, the school’s former principal said. The principal also described the Chesters as “engaged, supportive, encouraging, and full of mischief.”
“While the world mourns the loss of a dynamic athlete and humanitarian, I mourn the loss of two people just as important,” he wrote. “Their impact was just as meaningful, their loss will be just as keenly felt, and our hearts are just as broken.”
Christina Mauser 38 was the assistant head coach at Bryant’s Mamba Academy basketball team. According to CNN, she was planning to celebrate her daughter’s fourth birthday next week her husband Matt Mauser said. “Its horrible. I got three small kids and just trying to figure how to navigate life with three kids and no mother,” Matt Mauser told NBC’s, Today Show. Mauser said the reason Bryant chose Christina as a coach was “because she was amazing,” and described her as witty, funny, warm, and bright. The couple worked as teachers at the private school Bryant’s daughters attended, Mauser said and both served as the basketball and assistant basketball coach. Mauser added that his wife had a knack for the defensive end of basketball. “They called her the mother of defense-MOD, Mauser said.
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I must say, I’m crushed at the passing of Kobe but my heart goes out to the pilot the most. How AWFUL it must’ve been in his final moments to know he had a helicopter full of people depending on him to get them from point A to B & there was nothing he could do to stop the helicopter from going down. I wish I could hug this man & tell him “it’s not your fault, you did everything you could. You are an amazing pilot.” Kobe saw fit to trust you to get them to their destination. What a great honor. The Creator saw fit to let you be their guide into their final resting place- the greatest honor! Rest peacefully #AraZobayan #KobeBryant #gigibryant #johnaltobelli #kerialtobelli #alyssaaltobelli #sarahchester #paytonchester #christinamauser #restinpeace #restinpower #weloveyou
The Pilot of the helicopter carrying Kobi Bryant, Gianna Bryant and six other passengers also died in the crash. The pilot was identified as Ara Zobayan a licensed commercial pilot since 2007 according to records from the Federal Aviation Administration. Zobayan, of Huntington Beach, Calif., was also a certified flight and ground instructor, according to the FAA. One of Zobayan’s flight students Darren Kemp told the Times that he knew his teacher would have been on the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant. “He doesn’t let anyone else fly him around but Ara,” Kemp said. Kemp described Ara as a dedicated teacher committed to his student’s success. According to recordings of Zobayan contacts with air traffic controllers prior to the helicopter crash, they show that the pilot was given Special Visual Flight Rules clearance that allowed him to take off in worse than normal conditions.