INDIO – A vigil will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31 to honor the lives of Los Angeles Lakers icon and five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and the lives of the seven other souls that perished in a fatal helicopter crash on Sunday, Jan. 26 in Calabasas.
Others who were onboard the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter and died were John Altobelli, a champion baseball coach at Orange Coast College, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa.
Other victims include: Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Ara Zobayan.
The vigil will be held at the Foodie Fridays outside the Indio Grand Marketplace. Attendees are encouraged to wear their jerseys and a comfortable chair to watch highlights of Bryant’s career and life.
Guest speakers will be Indio City Councilmember Waymond Fermon and the Rev. Carl McPeters of Kyriakos Christian Center.
Fermon, who is organizing the event, said he is receiving notifications from folks as far away as Los Angeles who will be in attendance.
“The community reached out to me for answers and solace,” Fermon told Uken Report. “I wanted to do something that can bring the community together and mourn not only Kobe Bryant but everyone who perished in the accident and their families.”
“Sports has the ability to do one great thing and that’s bring people together from all walks of life for a common goal,” Fermon continued. “One thing in life is certain and that’s death. But when it comes so tragic, its heart breaking and devastating. I’ma father and I’m heartbroken over this, but I hope to be a shoulder to lean on.”
The helicopter carrying the nine souls crashed just before 10 a.m. PT. Bryant and his daughter were headed to Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, for a youth basketball event.
The helicopter carrying Bryant and eight others had been given special permission to fly despite foggy conditions, according to a report from the New York Times. Due to the inclement weather, the chopper was flying quite low, according to CNN, who reported, “At one point, an air traffic controller informed the pilot, “You’re still too low for flight following at this time,” meaning the chopper wasn’t flying high enough to register on radar.”
Bryant will be remembered as one of the greatest players of all time. His bragging rights include:
- Spent 20 seasons in the NBA, all with the Lakers
- Fourth-leading scorer in NBA history (33,643 points)
- Five-time NBA champion, twice named Finals MVP
- 18-time All-Star
- 11-time All-NBA First Team
- Nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team
- Two-time Olympic gold medalist
- Youngest player in NBA history at the time of his debut in 1996
Investigators have not yet established the cause of the crash.
Photo caption above: Kobe Bryant, Vanessa Bryant, Gianna Maria Onore Bryant and Natalia Diamante Bryant at the LA premiere of ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ held at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, USA on February 26, 2018.
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- Kobe Bryant and family: Shutterstock