Los Angeles (AFP)
Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday. A disappearance whose circumstances are still unclear, but which has caused a wave of emotion all over the world far beyond basketball fans.
Question: What are the circumstances of the accident?
Answer: The accident occurred Sunday morning just before 10 a.m. local time (6 p.m. GMT) in the steep hills of Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles. The cause of the crash is not yet known. According to initial reports, a thick fog enveloped the region at the time of the tragedy. According to the American media TMZ, the first to have announced the death of the basketball player, the first flight data report difficulties that arose while the object was flying over the Los Angeles zoo. The pilot would then have been warned that he was flying too low. A few minutes later, the helicopter reportedly struck a hill approximately 520 meters before catching fire. The NTSB, the US agency responsible for transportation safety, announced that it had dispatched a team of 18 people to California to participate in the investigation. Questioned by AFP, the police of Los Angeles (LAPD) indicated that the lack of visibility was such that its own helicopters were left on the ground until the afternoon, when the sky cleared.
Q: Who were the passengers on the helicopter?
A: The helicopter was carrying a total of nine people. None survived the crash. In addition to the pilot and Kobe Bryant, the daughter of the American basketball player, Gianna, 13, is among the victims. Great hope in women's basketball, the girl was going with her father to a tournament when the accident occurred. According to several media reports, two of her teammates and three of their parents were also on board. The latest victim is the girls' basketball coach.
Q: Who was Kobe Bryant?
A: Bryant, 41, is one of the legends of American basketball. He spent 20 seasons in the ranks of the famous NBA club Los Angeles Lakers, with which he won five league titles. Elected best player (MVP) during the 2007-2008 season, he is one of the seven players to have scored more than 30,000 points during his career. He was selected 18 times for the All Star Game, confronting the best players of the season, especially in 1998 when he was only 19 years old. Olympic gold medalist with the American selection in 2008 and 2012, he retired in 2016. Since then, he had converted to business, through his investment company Bryant Stibel, and in film production. His animated short film "Dear Basketball" was crowned with an Oscar in 2018.
Q: What reactions did his death cause?
A: A wave of emotion overwhelmed the world far beyond basketball or sports fans at the news of Bryant's disappearance. "This is terrible news!" First reacted US President Donald Trump, quickly followed by his White House predecessor Barack Obama, a great basketball fan, who praised the memory of this "legend" on Twitter. . Basketball players around the world have also paid tribute to the former player. Among them, Michael Jordan, another planetary star of the NBA, Shaquille O'Neal, who was his teammate in Los Angeles, or the Frenchman Tony Parker. The poignant image of LeBron James, star of the Lakers, drying his tears with a handkerchief Sunday evening on the tarmac at Los Angeles airport, has gone around the world. But the disappearance of Bryant also moved the world of sport. The Brazilian star of PSG Neymar thus celebrated in full memory the memory of Bryant, by drawing with his fingers the number 24 (Bryant's number in the Lakers) just after having scored his second goal against Lille. Monday at the Australian Tennis Open, Nick Kyrgios entered the court wearing Bryant's jersey before facing Rafael Nadal, and the American Coco Gauff played with messages including "RIP Kobe" written on felt on his shoes.
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