Kobe Bryant’s helicopter pilot blamed for fatal flight after flying into clouds | US News


Federal safety officials have blamed a pilot’s poor decision for the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Ara Zobayan flew the helicopter into clouds and became disoriented before crashing into a hill near Calabasas in California in January 2020.

Mr Zobayan was killed, along with basketball star Bryant, Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and six others.

The NTSB said the pilot ignored his training when he continued flying in thick cloud that probably left him so disoriented that he could not tell up from down.

Investigators said they believed he had experienced spatial disorientation, known as “the leans”, which affects the inner ear and makes pilots think they are flying straight when they are in fact banking.

While Mr Zobayan was telling flight controllers he was climbing and had nearly broken through the clouds, the Sikorsky S-76 was instead descending, investigators said.

The five board members said that, in flying into the clouds, Mr Zobayan had breached Visual Flight Rules, which require pilots to be able to see where they are going.

They also said that he might have been putting himself under pressure to complete the journey for Bryant, whom he had flown before, rather than landing at the nearest airport when the weather took a turn.

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The last movements and communications before the helicopter crashed

NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said: “The closer you get to the destination, the more you think just maybe you can pull this off.”

NTSB member Michael Graham added that as long as helicopter pilots continue flying into clouds without relying on instruments, which requires a high level of training, “a certain percentage aren’t going to come out alive”.

There had been speculation that the crash could lead to helicopters being required to have Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (TAWS), which warn pilots when aircraft are in danger of crashing.

But NTSB investigator-in-charge Bill English said this was unlikely to have helped in the scenario that led to the fatal crash.

In fact, the combination of the terrain and the pilot’s disorientation would only have made the system a “confusing factor”, he said.

The NTSB had previously ruled out mechanical failure, saying the crash was believed to have been an accident.

The aircraft’s operator Island Express Helicopters Inc was also blamed for inadequate review and oversight of safety matters.

Bryant – a 41-year-old 18-time National Basketball Association all-star with the Los Angeles Lakers – and his daughter were travelling with the others to a youth basketball tournament.

They were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, who helped Bryant coach his daughter’s basketball team; and Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton.

Bryant’s widow Vanessa sued Mr Zobayan’s estate and the helicopter’s operators for alleged negligence and the wrongful deaths of her husband and daughter.

But Mr Zobayan’s brother Berge said Bryant knew the risks of flying and that his surviving family were not entitled to damages.

Families of the other passengers sued the helicopter company but not the pilot.

Island Express Helicopters Inc had blamed the crash on an “act of God”, denying responsibility and counter-suing two air traffic controllers, blaming them for “erroneous acts and/or omissions”.

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Pilot in Kobe Bryant crash was disoriented in clouds, investigators say


However, NTSB investigators said that the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter was in fact banking and beginning to descend at increasing magnitude, investigators said.

There were 184 aircraft crashes between 2010-2019 involving spatial disorientation, including 20 fatal helicopter crashes, the NTSB said.

Tuesday’s federal hearing focused on the long-awaited probable cause or causes of the tragedy that unleashed worldwide grief for the retired basketball star, launched several lawsuits and prompted state and federal legislation.

Investigators work the scene of the helicopter crash in California in 2020.Credit:AP

“I think the whole world is watching because it’s Kobe,” said Ed Coleman, an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University professor and aircraft safety science expert.

Bryant, Gianna and six other passengers were flying from Orange County to a youth basketball tournament at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Ventura County when the helicopter encountered thick fog in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles.

The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter banked abruptly and plunged into hills below, killing all nine aboard instantly before flames engulfed the wreckage.

There was no sign of mechanical failure and the crash was believed to be an accident, the National Transportation Safety Board has said previously.

The board during its hearing on Tuesday is likely to make non-binding recommendations to prevent future crashes when it meets remotely and announces its findings about the crash.

The NTSB is an independent federal agency that investigates transportation-related crashes but has no enforcement powers.

It submits suggestions to agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration or the Coast Guard, which have repeatedly rejected some board safety recommendations after other disasters.

Over the past year, experts have speculated that the crash could lead to requiring Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems, devices that signal when aircraft are in danger of crashing, on helicopters.

The helicopter that Bryant was flying in did not have the system, which the NTSB has recommended as mandatory for helicopters. The FAA requires it only for air ambulances.

However, NTSB investigator-in-charge Bill English said on Tuesday that the system, known as TAWS, would likely not have been helpful in the scenario in which Bryant’s helicopter crashed.

The hilly terrain, combined with the pilot’s spatial disorientation in the clouds, would have been “a confusing factor,” English said.

“The pilot doesn’t know which way is up,” English said.

Federal investigators said Zobayan, an experienced pilot who often flew Bryant, may have “misperceived” the angles at which he was descending and banking, which can occur when pilots become disoriented in low visibility, according to NTSB documents.

Investigators on Tuesday also faulted Zobayan for banking to the left instead of ascending straight up while trying to climb out of the bad weather.

The others killed in the crash were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, who helped Bryant coach his daughter’s basketball team; and Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton. Alyssa and Payton were Gianna’s teammates.

The crash has generated lawsuits and counter-suits.

On the day that a massive memorial service was held at the Staples Centre, where Bryant played most of his career, Vanessa Bryant sued Zobayan and the companies that owned and operated the helicopter for alleged negligence and the wrongful deaths of her husband and daughter. Families of other victims sued the helicopter companies but not the pilot.

Vanessa Bryant said Island Express Helicopters Inc, which operated the aircraft, and its owner, Island Express Holding Corp, did not properly train or supervise Zobayan. She said the pilot was careless and negligent to fly in fog and should have aborted the flight.

Zobayan’s brother, Berge Zobayan, has said Kobe Bryant knew the risks of flying in a helicopter and that his survivors aren’t entitled to damages from the pilot’s estate. Island Express Helicopters Inc denied responsibility and said the crash was “an act of God” that it could not control.

The company also counter-sued two FAA air traffic controllers, saying the crash was caused by their “series of erroneous acts and/or omissions”.

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The countersuit claims one controller improperly denied Zobayan’s request for “flight following,” or radar assistance, as he proceeded in the fog. Officials have said the controller terminated service because radar could not be maintained at the altitude the aircraft was flying.

According to the lawsuit, the controller said he was going to lose radar and communications shortly, but radar contact was not lost.

When a second controller took over, the lawsuit said, the first controller failed to brief him about the helicopter, and because the radar services were not terminated correctly, the pilot believed he was being tracked.

Vanessa Bryant also sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, accusing deputies of sharing unauthorised photos of the crash site. California now has a state law prohibiting such conduct.

AP

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Kobe Bryant crash pilot was disoriented in clouds, agency says


LOS ANGELES —
U.S. safety investigators said Tuesday the pilot of Kobe Bryant’s helicopter flew through the clouds last year in an apparent violation of federal standards, and likely became disoriented just before the helicopter crashed and killed Bryant and eight others.

Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said that pilot Ara Zobayan was flying under visual flight rules, which meant that he needed to be able to see where he was going.

Zobayan piloted the aircraft to climb sharply and had nearly broken through the clouds when the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter banked abruptly and plunged into the Southern California hills below, killing all aboard.

The helicopter did not have the so-called “black box” recording devices, which were not required.

The revelation during a hearing to announce the probable cause or causes of the crash followed plenty of finger-pointing.

Bryant’s widow blamed the pilot. She and relatives of the other victims also faulted the companies that owned and operated the helicopter.

The brother of the pilot didn’t blame Bryant but said he knew about the risks of flying. The helicopter companies said foggy weather before the helicopter hit the ground was an act of God and blamed air traffic controllers.

The federal hearing focused on the long-awaited probable cause or causes of the tragedy that unleashed worldwide grief for the retired basketball star, launched several lawsuits and prompted state and federal legislation.

“I think the whole world is watching because it’s Kobe,” said Ed Coleman, an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University professor and aircraft safety science expert.

Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and six other passengers were flying from Orange County to a youth basketball tournament at his Mamba Sports Academy in Ventura County on Jan. 26, 2020, when the helicopter encountered thick fog in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles.

Pilot Ara Zobayan climbed sharply and nearly broke through the clouds when the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter banked abruptly and plunged into the Calabasas hills below, killing all nine aboard instantly before flames engulfed the wreckage.

There was no sign of mechanical failure and the crash was believed to be an accident, the National Transportation Safety Board has said previously.

The board on Tuesday is likely to make nonbinding recommendations to prevent future crashes when it meets remotely and announces its findings about the crash.

The NTSB is an independent federal agency that investigates transportation-related crashes but has no enforcement powers.



Thank you for visiting My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed checking out this news release involving current Canadian news titled “Kobe Bryant crash pilot was disoriented in clouds, agency says”. This news article is shared by My Local Pages as part of our Australian news services.

#Kobe #Bryant #crash #pilot #disoriented #clouds #agency



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Sport news, gallery, 2020 in pictures, most memorable photos, timeline, Kobe Bryant death, Diego Maradona


At long last, the most challenging year in recent human history is in the books.

While very few will look back on 2020 with any fondness, the year did dish up some truly memorable sporting moments — for both good and bad.

Here, we reflect in pictures on the moments that helped define 2020 in sport.

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Basketball news, Liz Cambage, Kobe Bryant


There was once a time, as recently as last year, when Liz Cambage irritated her teammates with her lack of on-court knowledge.

But the influence of NBA legend Kobe Bryant has the Southside Flyers superstar in the form of her life.

As brilliant as Cambage is as one of the world’s best women’s basketballers, she could fall into the trap of being confused with team schemes in offence and defence.

Just ask her Opals and Southside captain Jenna O’Hea, who often felt frustrated with Liz’s lack of technical competence.

According to O’Hea, though, Cambage has improved out of sight with the Flyers in the WNBL this season – thanks largely to Bryant.

The Los Angeles Lakers legend, who tragically died in a helicopter crash in late January, had built a close relationship with 29-year-old Cambage.

Bryant first met Cambage in 2019 when he attended her first game of the WNBA season with the Las Vegas Aces in Vegas, and from there the pair developed a special relationship.

O’Hea credits this one-on-one time with one of the NBA’s greatest players for helping her star Southside teammate reach her full potential.

“With Kobe’s influence, Liz has become more of a student of the game,” O’Hea revealed.

“They had watched film together and I know she really took that to heart, and it is something that she did want to improve.

“So, I think Kobe was a really great influence and I think she wants to continue to learn and grow with the game.

“But I’ve played with Liz for a long time and I think in the past I’ve got quite frustrated with her not knowing offences and all that type of stuff.

“She has played a lot of time in China, where the communication would have been difficult with the language barrier.

“But playing in America and Australia she has built that confidence and I feel like this year she has improved so much.”

Cambage’s enhanced technical knowledge came to the fore on the big stage during Wednesday’s major semi-final against the Townsville Fire.

The Flyers were trying to execute a defensive scheme, but it wasn’t working so Liz showed the initiative to change the plan on the run.

It was a move that equally shocked and pleased O’Hea.

“I was on the bench and thinking, ‘Why are we switching? We are not supposed to be’,” she said.

“But on the defence end – that was great self-awareness from Liz, that she knew she couldn’t get out to our specific scheme that we were trying to do.

“She changed it up on the court, so we could get the win.”

O’Hea says Cambage has also benefited from extra video this season, given the WNBL’s shortened season has meant less time for training.

This has seen the Flyers star centre devote enormous hours to studying her opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.

“A lot of it is learning off the video, so it is all above the shoulders and is mental not physical on how to learn this year,” she said.

“Liz has been extremely focused and engaged in meetings trying to learn as much as she can.

“Because even when there is training, it is not as if we are going 100 per cent as there are just too many games in a shorter period.”

The WNBL’s condensed schedule, some 60 games inside six weeks in a North Queensland hub, hasn’t stopped Cambage from training even harder.

O’Hea revealed the 2011 WNBL MVP has regularly spent days off in the gym to hone her fitness.

“We had a day off on Thursday, but she went to the gym because she knows that she needs that,” she said.

“It was just Liz in the gym, so she puts in the hours off the court to be the best on the court and it is definitely showing.

“Body wise, it is the best I’ve seen Liz.”

O’Hea believes the 2020 WNBL season is perfect preparation for Cambage heading into next year’s Tokyo Olympics – and a warning shot at the rest of the basketball world.

“I think Liz will be great at the Olympics,” she said.

“She is in good form and this season has only helped her.

“I think the Olympics was part of the reason why she wanted to play in Australia this season.

“Also, to play under (Flyers coach) Cheryl Chambers, who is the Opals assistant coach, and a lot of our offences are like what the Opals run.”

There is no question Cambage was disappointed not to win the WNBL MVP, especially after such a strong season, but her focus is on winning a championship.

O’Hea claimed the 2011 WNBL title alongside Liz with the Melbourne Boomers, so the pair are determined to win Sunday’s grand final.

“We won together with the Boomers and it has been a long time between drinks for the both of us,” she said.

“I think everyone knows that Liz is the MVP of the league, whether she was voted or not.

“But at the end of the day it is the championship that you want and that is absolutely her focus.

“To finish this year with a title would be pretty amazing given the year that everyone has had, especially with lockdown in Melbourne, so that is our goal.”



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AFL news 2020: Jeff Farmer son Kobe, Tom Green brother, players invited to train with AFL clubs 2021


The son of a footballing ‘Wizard’, snubbed draftees and delisted players seeking a second chance make up a 16-man list of players invited to train with AFL clubs this summer.

The AFL on Friday night released the list of players that have been given permission to train at seven clubs during the 2021 pre-season supplemental selection period (SSP).

Melbourne has invited Kobe Farmer — the son of former Demon and 483-goal champion Jeff ‘Wizard’ Farmer — to train with the club after the Christmas break.

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Farmer, who kicked 10 goals from seven WAFL colts games this season for Peel Thunder, was overlooked at the draft but now has a chance to impress the Demons, who have two vacancies on their rookie list.



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AFL news 2020: Matthew Rowell training, shoulder injury, Kobe Bryant, Gold Coast Suns training


Emerging midfield star Matthew Rowell has impressed Gold Coast teammates with his “workhorse” attitude, but remains on light duties at the start of pre-season.

Rowell on Monday was among the array of first to fourth-year Suns players that officially commenced 2021 preparations at the club.

The 19-year-old burst onto the AFL scene in 2020, polling nine Brownlow votes in three consecutive games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury against Geelong.

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Rowell has worked tirelessly at his rehab program since July. However the club’s medical department has opted for him to take a conservative approach for a few more weeks, shielding him from any contact work until after Christmas.



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NBA champions LA Lakers pay tribute to Kobe Bryant after title win


Bryant retired in 2016 after a 20-year career with the LA Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers paid tribute to Kobe Bryant after winning their first NBA title in a decade.

Five-time NBA champion Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in January alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.

He spent his entire career with the Lakers and led them to their last NBA title in 2010.

“Kobe, I know he’s looking down on us super proud,” said Lakers forward Anthony Davis.

“We miss him, and this is definitely for him.”

The Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 to seal a 4-2 series victory and tie with the Boston Celtics for the most NBA championships on 17.

Davis added: “He had a lot of confidence in our team. He had a lot of confidence in our organisation to go out there and win it this year.”

On several occasions during the play-offs, the Lakers competed in ‘Black Mamba’ jerseys – a strip themed on 18-time NBA All-Star Bryant’s self-styled nickname.

Before their defeat in game five of the finals, the Lakers had won all four play-off matches they had contested when wearing the strip, which was co-designed by Bryant and released in 2017.

“I think Kobe and Gianna have guided this team the entire year,” said Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.

“Kobe’s voice is always in my head, always, every day, every minute. For us to be able to win this championship doesn’t take away the sting of the loss, but what it does is it helps us add to their legacy.

“Kobe and Gianna’s legacy will last forever. It will impact lives around the world in positive ways, and this Lakers championship in 2020 is partly to build on that legacy and honour them. The moment couldn’t be any more special to do that for them.

“There would be times in my hotel room here – when you’re in a bubble for 100 days, it’s tough – there would be times in the middle of the night, I would hear his voice: ‘Stay the course. Finish the task.’

“He said, ‘I’ll give you two, three years, you’ll fix this. You’ll get the Lakers back on top’.”

Looking to the skies, Pelinka added: “I guess you were right, man. You gave me the energy to do it.”

Bryant’s widow Vanessa posted a tribute to the Lakers on her Instagram story with a photo of her late husband with Pelinka.

“Wish Kobe and Gigi were here to see this,” she wrote.

Lakers fan celebrate on the streets of LA
Lakers fans remembered Bryant as they celebrated in LA

Following the Lakers’ win, fans streamed onto the streets of LA in celebration, despite coronavirus restrictions.

Many wore Bryant’s number 8 and 24 jerseys as well as face masks and jackets adorned with the face of the Lakers great, while photos were taken by a giant mural of Bryant and his daughter and his name was chanted.

“Winning for Kobe has been in my mind for a while,” Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo said.

“To be able to compete with Kobe, understand and learn so much from him by watching his film and by studying him, it’s definitely an honour.

“And to come full circle to win in his honour, his daughter’s honour, unbelievable season that we’ve had. And to be able to prevail and stay focused and continue to get the job done, I know he’s definitely smiling down on us.”





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Anthony Davis tribute to Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets


Los Angeles Lakers power forward Anthony Davis has pulled off a three-point buzzer beater to snare victory from the jaws of defeat during Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference Finals series.

Trailing the Denver Nuggets 103-102 in Orlando, the Lakers only had 2.1 seconds left on the clock after small forward Danny Green was blocked by rival Jamal Murray.

With no time-outs remaining, the top-seeded Lakers had enough time to get the ball into the hands of Davis, who slotted the three-pointer with ease.

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The seven-time NBA All-Star — who scored the last ten points for the Lakers on Monday — was immediately swamped by his ecstatic teammates.

Sports presenter Skip Bayless tweeted: “LeBron, who had a nightmarish 4th quarter, wanted no part of a last play called for him, didn’t even try to get open, so Rondo found AD, who did what LeBron couldn’t.”

The Athletic reporter Toby Jones posted: “AD bailed LeBron out tonight. What a shot. What a close in the fourth quarter.”

Playing in just his second Conference Finals match, Davis finished with 31 points, nine rebounds and two assists.

“I want to take those shots; it’s part of the legacy,” Davis said after the game.

“I want those shots, I want the big-time plays … this is what they brought me here for.

“It’s a huge dream … to make it even better, just wish it was in Staples tonight with the fans that support us all year.”

When asked if there was any doubt about who should take the game-winning shot, Davis bluntly responded: “No.”

The 27-year-old later confirmed he mouthed “Kobe” immediately after making the matchwinning shot.

READ MORE: LeBron is seriously ‘p***ed off’ over snub

Superstar point guard LeBron James mustered 11 rebounds and 26 points, while Nikola Jokic scored a team-high 30 points for the Nuggets, including Denver’s final 12 points of the match.

Meanwhile, Denver point guard Jamal Murray enjoyed his fifth consecutive 20-point game in the Playoffs.

Although they recovered from an early deficit to almost secure another miracle comeback, the Nuggets are yet to achieve victory in the seven-game series, trailing 2-0.

“They have two really good, really good, really good players,” Jokic lamented.

The Lakers were donning Mamba jerseys in honour of the legendary Kobe Bryant, and are now 3-0 when wearing the black kit.

“We never want to lose in these jerseys. We never want to lose at all,” Davis said.

Game 3 will take place on Wednesday morning AEST, with the Lakers needing two more wins to book a spot in the NBA Finals.



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Kobe Bryant’s childhood home with original basketball hoop is up for sale


Kobe Bryant’s childhood home is up for sale. Picture: Realtor


A unique piece of Kobe Bryant history is up for sale.

The hoop that helped make the late NBA star a basketball icon can be yours — if you buy the home it’s attached to, where the star-to-be spent his teenage years.

The Lakers legend’s childhood home — complete with its original basketball court — has hit the market for $1.23 million (US$899,000), according to NYPost.

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Kobe Bryant's childhood home is up for sale. Picture: Realtor

The hoop where a young Kobe worked on his game. Picture: Realtor


Kobe Bryant's childhood home is up for sale. Picture: Realtor

The den with a roaring fireplace. Picture: Realtor


Kobe Bryant's childhood home is up for sale. Picture: Realtor

A dining area with wet bar adjacent. Picture: Realtor


First round NBA draft pick Kobe Bryant poses for a photo in 1996 (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)


Bryant’s family moved into the 1950s Colonial-inspired home back in 1991, settling down in the affluent Philadelphia suburb of Wynnewood after spending years in Italy. Kobe was only 13 at the time.

When he wasn’t practising on the metal hoop on the side driveway, the young basketball prodigy was laying the foundation for his career while playing for the nearby Lower Merion High School.

Bryant first displayed his phenomenal skills there as a teenager, when he led his high school team to a state championship — perfecting his craft on this very hoop.

Kobe Bryant's childhood home is up for sale. Picture: Realtor

The living area. Picture: Realtor


Kobe Bryant's childhood home is up for sale. Picture: Realtor

The dining space. Picture: Realtor


“I not only took a shot, I did a little dunk. I had fun with that,” co-listing agent, TJ Sokso with Compass told Realtor, who was also playing Pennsylvania high school basketball at the time Kobe was.

“It’s very nostalgic to be there. It’s a surreal feeling, actually.”

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant after his final NBA game in 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Picture: Harry How/Getty Images


Kobe Bryant's childhood home is up for sale. Picture: Realtor

This was Kobe’s childhood room, according to the selling agent. Picture: Realtor


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The property, spanning more than 316 sqm, hasn’t been on the market since 2008, when Bryant’s dad, Joe Bryant, sold the home for US$510,000, according to Realtor.

The two-storey house has five bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. Two of the bedrooms, including the main bedroom, have en suite bathrooms.

Kobe Bryant's childhood home is up for sale. Picture: Realtor

Memorabilia that the Bryants left behind. Picture: Realtor


Kobe Bryant's childhood home is up for sale. Picture: Realtor

The kitchen. Picture: Realtor


Kobe Bryant's childhood home is up for sale. Picture: Realtor

The main bedroom. Picture: Realtor


Kobe’s bedroom was the first one on the left at the top of the stairs.

Bryant, 41, died earlier this year in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles that also killed his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.

Considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Bryant notched five NBA championships during his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Phillips 66 National Swimming Championships

Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant on July 26, 2018 in Irvine, California. Both tragically died in a helicopter crash earlier this year. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)




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