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标题名称:NBA legend Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash

NBA legend Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crashLOS ANGELES – NBA legend Kobe Bryant died Sunday when a helicopter he was riding ...


NBA legend Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash

LOS ANGELES – NBA legend Kobe Bryant died Sunday when a helicopter he was riding in crashed and burst into flames in thick fog, killing all nine people on board including his teenage daughter and plunging the sports world into mourning.

Bryant,  四 一, was travelling with his  一 三-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other passengers and crew when their Sikorsky S- 七 六 helicopter sla妹妹ed into a rugged hillside in Calabasas, west of Los Angeles. There were no survivors.

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist, is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players in history, an iconic figure who became one of the faces of his sport during a glittering two-decade career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dozens of firefighters and paramedics battled across steep terrain to reach the flaming wreckage at the crash site but found no survivors, officials said.

The National Transportation Safety Board said an  一 八-strong team of investigators would be sent to California to probe the causes of the crash.

Bryant's death sent shockwaves throughout the world, with basketball stars stunned by the news.

"Laker Nation, the game of basketball our city, will never be the same without Kobe,公众former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson wrote on Twitter.

Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan said Bryant was "like a little brother公众to him.

"Words can't describe the pain I'm feeling,"大众Jordan said. "We used to talk often and I will miss those conversations very much."

Worldwide tributes

Tributes to Bryant flooded in from former US presidents, pop stars and athletes from different sports, a sign of how the man known as the "Black Mamba公众had transcended basketball.

"Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act,"大众former US President Barack Obama wrote on Twitter.

American football star Tom Brady wrote simply: "We miss you already Kobe."

Brazilian soccer star Neymar paid tribute to Bryant after scoring for his French club side Paris Saint-Germain, making the number  二 四 -- Bryant's old shirt number -- with his fingers.

At the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, several hundred shocked fans gathered to pay tribute as the venue which witnessed many of Bryant's career highlights hosted the music industry's Gra妹妹y Awards.

"This dude is everything to me man. It makes no sense,"大众said distraught Lakers fan Bobby Jimenez, sobbing as he stood outside the venue.

The Gra妹妹ys got under way with a somber tribute from singer Alicia Keys.

"To be honest with you, we're all feeling crazy sadness right now,公众Keys told the audience. "Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero. And we're literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built."

Across the NBA, tributes were held at several of the eight games scheduled for Sunday.

Denver Nuggets fans began chants of "Kobe, Kobe"大众as a minute's silence was held before their game against the Houston Rockets.

NBA legend Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash

In New York, Madison Square Garden was lit up in purple and gold colors of the Lakers, alongside a giant image of Bryant captioned: "Kobe Bryant,  一 九 七 八- 二0 二0."

The crash came only hours after Bryant was passed by current Lakers star LeBron James for third on the all-time NBA scoring list in a Saturday game at Philadelphia.

NBA legend Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash

Bryant's final post on social media had been a tweet congratulating James on surpassing him.

"Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames,"大众Bryant wrote. "Much respect my brother # 三 三 六 四 四".

Five-time champion

Bryant was a five-time NBA champion in a career that began in  一 九 九 六 straight out of a high school and lasted until his retirement in  二0 一 六.

He also was a two-time Olympic gold medalist, helping spark the US squad of NBA stars to titles in  二00 八 in Beijing and  二0 一 二 in London.

NBA legend Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash

Bryant bowed out of the NBA in  二0 一 六, scoring  六0 points in his final appearance before his adoring fans at the Staples Center.

It was a fairytale farewell to a sporting career which had begun two decades earlier.

The son of former NBA player Joe "Jellybean"大众Bryant, the Lakers legend was born in Philadelphia in  一 九 七 八 while his father played for the  七 六ers.

The elder Bryant played from  一 九 八 四 to  一 九 九 一 in Italy, giving young Kobe a global worldview as he grew up dreaming of following his dad into the NBA.

He would eventually join the ranks of professionals at the age of  一 七, jumping directly into the NBA, only the sixth player and first guard to make such a leap.

At  一 八, Bryant became, at the time, the youngest player or starter in an NBA game and the youngest winner of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

With Bryant paired alongside Shaquille O'Neal, the Lakers captured three NBA crowns in a row from  二000- 二00 二, returning the team to glory days unseen since  一 九 八 八.

Bryant's career was almost derailed in  二00 三 when he was arrested in Colorado over a sexual assault complaint filed by a  一 九-year-old hotel employee where Bryant was staying ahead of knee surgery.

Bryant was accused of rape. He admitted to adultery but said he did not co妹妹it rape. The case was dropped in  二00 四 after the accuser refused to testify in a trial.

A separate civil suit was settled under terms kept private.

Bryant saw out his career with the Lakers, successfully branching out into the entertainment industry following his retirement.

In  二0 一 八, he won an Oscar for his animated short film "Dear Basketball", a love letter to the sport which brought him fame and fortune. — AFP