Kobe Bryant's last Instagram post was a congratulations to LeBron James for surpassing his all-time scoring record. Bryant made the post late on Saturday evening, prompting many fans to praise his humility and sportsmanship. Hours later, the NBA legend passed away tragically.
Bryant was killed in a helicopter accident on Sunday morning in Calabasas, California. He was flying with three other people in addition to the pilot, according to a report by The Los Angeles Times. There were no survivors in the wreck.
"On to #2!" Bryant wrote of his new all-time scoring status, tagging James. "Keep growing the game and charting the path for the next."
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He included a photo of the two of them smiling and laughing together at a game, James clearly in the middle of playing while Bryant was court-side in casual clothes.
Bryant's sudden passing shocked the world on Sunday as the news slowly spread. His helicopter reportedly went down near Virgenes Road and Agoura Road in Calabasas, far from any homes or roadways. However, the crash did ignite nearby brush, making it harder for first responders to reach the site.
When the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and fire fighters arrived, all those on board the helicopter were reportedly dead. This included the pilot and three other passengers who have not yet been identified. According to TMZ, Bryant's wife, Vanessa Laine Bryant, was not among them.
Sources told The L.A. Times that Bryant's helicopter had taken off from near his home in Orange County, California that morning. He was known to prefer helicopter travel whenever possible, and was flying in a Sikorsky S-76.
Bryant is an icon whose legacy has surpassed the NBA, making him a cultural legend. He has worked as a recording artist, an animation director, an author and a philanthropist. He won an Oscar in 2018 for the short film Dear Basketball, and he published his memoir The Mamba Mentality: How I Play that same year. He also worked with children's programs like After-School All-Stars, and on international charities like the Soong Ching Ling Foundation with the Chinese government.0comments
Bryant was the third all-time highest-scoring player in the NBA until Saturday night, when James surpassed his record. Bryant was not the only one to congratulated him for this feat, as James' Instagram Story was full of re-posts from other players, commentators and fans singing his praises on Saturday night.
James re-posted Bryant's picture as well, adding a crown and a heart in deference to his friend. However, he has not yet made a public comment or a post about Bryant's shocking death.