Kobe Bryant: 42 photos for the Laker legend’s 42nd birthday

Kobe Bryant would have celebrated his 42nd birthday on Sunday, August 23.

The 18-time NBA All-Star won five championships throughout his 20-year career, spent entirely with the Los Angeles Lakers, and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation.

  • Former Laker Kobe Bryant holds the Larry O’Brien championship trophy and the NBA Finals MVP trophy after the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of the 2009 Finals in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • With a large flag as a backdrop, 17-year-old Kobe Bryant dunks the ball at his Lower Merion, Pa. high school gym during a practice on Jan. 19, 1996. (Photo by Rusty Kennedy, AP)

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  • Kobe Bryant arrives or his final game as a Los Angeles Laker against the Utah Jazz. April 13, 2016. Los Angeles, CA.  (Photo by David Crane/Southern California News Group)

  • Lakers’ Kobe Bryant slams in two points during game action at Staples Sunday. Clippers defeated the Lakers 109-95 to clinch the Pacific Division. Photo by David Crane/Staff Photographer

  • The Lakers’ Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant share a laugh during the final minutes of the the Lakers’ 117-103 victory over the New York Knick at the Staples Center Sunday March 10, 2002. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Lakers Kobe Bryant and Pacers Roy Hibbert go after a loose ball during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, January 3, 2015. Lakers defeated the Indiana Pacers 88-87. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

  • The Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna share a moment during their 2010 Championship Parade on Monday, June 21, 2010 in Los Angeles. (Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise/SCNG)

  • Kobe Bryant walks off the court after scoring 60 points in the final game of his career against the against the Utah Jazz. April 13, 2016. Los Angeles, CA.  The Lakers defeated the Jazz 101-96. (Photo by David Crane/Southern California News Group)

  • Laker’s Kobe Bryant ,24, celebrates a three pointer in the fourth quarter as the Lakers beat the Nuggets 122-107 during a first round playoff basketball game between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers April 23. 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (SGVN/Staff Photo Keith Birmingham/SXSports)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (24) sits alone on the bench before a basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs at the Staples Center on Sunday, April 4, 2010 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/Pasadena Star-News)

  • Laker Kobe Bryant #24 with Pau Gasol during a basketball game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center on Monday January 19, 2009 in Los Angeles.

  • Los Angeles: Kobe Bryant,8, drives to the basketball against the Sacramento Kings defense in the first half of the game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles April 17,2002.
    (Pasadena Star-News Staff Photo Keith Birmingham/Sports)

  • Laker Kobe Bryant #24 on the bench in the first half during a basketball game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center on Monday January 19, 2009 in Los Angeles. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Keith Birmingham/SPORTS)

  • In this June 9, 2016 file photo, retired NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant poses at the 2016 AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to John Williams in Los Angeles. Bryant has received a one-of-a-kind retirement gift from rapper Snoop Dogg: a Los Angeles Lakers-themed convertible. He posted a picture on Twitter of him and Snoop standing by the purple and gold car Wednesday. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, left, and Shaquille O’Neal pose for a photo during media day at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Oct. 4, 1999. The Lakers training camp opens in Santa Barbara, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 5, 1999. (AP Photo/ Victoria Arocho)

  • Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant, left, holding the championship trophy, celebrates with teammates Rick Fox, Lindsey Hunter, second from right, and Shaquille O’Neal, right, holding the MVP trophy, after winning Game 4 of the NBA Finals, June 12, 2002, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Lakers defeated the New Jersey Nets 113-107, capturing their third consecutive NBA championship. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Lakers guard Kobe Bryant reacts afternoon a fourth quarter dunk late in the game at the Compaq Center in Houston during game four of the NBA Western Conference playoffs in 1999. Lakers beat the Rockets 98-88. (Photo by Chris Carlson, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant smiles as he talks to reporters following the Lakers’ victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in game 5 of the 2001 NBA Finals in Philadelphia. It was the second of five titles Bryant won with the Lakers during his 20-year Hall of Fame career. (AP Photo/Chris Gardner)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant holds the NBA Championship trophy aloft during the Lakers’ victory celebration of their third consecutive NBA championship Friday, June 14, 2002, in downtown Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Lakers’ forward Kobe Bryant watches a tribute video before the first half at Staples Center

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant and coach Phil Jackson talk during a break against the Dallas Mavericks during the first half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series, Sunday, May 8, 2011, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Kobe Bryant poses in the press room with the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for “Dear Basketball,” during the 90th Annual Academy Awards on March 4, 2018, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

  • In this July 12, 1996, file photo, Kobe Bryant, 17, jokes with the media as he holds his Lakers jersey during a news conference in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Susan Sterner, STf)

  • In this photo taken Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant waves good bye to the fans after an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in his last appearance at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif. Renamed SleepTrain Arena, the facility has been the home of the Kings since it opened in 1988. The Kings won an NBA-best 61 games in the 2001-02 season behind Chris Webber and Vlade Divac, losing to the eventual champion Lakers in Game 7 of the conference finals. The Kings will play their last game at the aging building, Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder and begin play next season at the new Golden One Center built in downtown Sacramento. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

  • Lakers guard Kobe Bryant reacts afternoon a fouth quarter dunk late in the game Saturday at the Compaq Center in Houston during game four of the NBA Western Conference playoffs in 1999. Lakers beat the Rockets 98-88. (Photo by Chris Carlson, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (24) and Lamar Odom (7) all smiles before a basketball game at the Staples Center on Friday, April 2, 2010 in Los Angeles. Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Lakers Kobe Bryant celebrates during the victory rally for the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday June 17, 2009 in Los Angeles. Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant waves to the crowd after receiving his Al-Star jersey prior to a NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016 in Los Angeles.
    (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) drives to the basket in the first half of game five of a Western Conference Final Playoff basketball game as the Lakers beat the Suns 103-101 at the Staples Center on Thursday, May 27, 2010 in Los Angeles. Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Lakers Kobe Bryant smiles as the Dodgers beat the Angels 5-3 during a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim at Anaheim Stadium on Sunday June 21, 2009 in Anaheim. Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Lakers Kobe Bryant blows a kiss to the 95 thousand fans during the victory rally for the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday June 17, 2009 in Los Angeles. Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Laker Kobe Bryant #24 celebrates with Ronny Turiaf #21 as the Lakers beat the Spurs 89-85 during game one of the the Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers May 21. 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (SGVN/Staff Photo Keith Birmingham/Sports)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant looks at the score board in the first quarter against the New Orleans Hornets during game five of a NBA Western Conference First Round playoff basketball game in Los Angeles, on Tuesday, April 26, 2011. Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Laker Kobe Bryant #24 slam dunks in the first half during game one of a Western Conference final playoff basketball game between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center on Tuesday May 19, 2009 in Los Angeles. Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • FINALS BEGIN–Laker’s Kobe Bryant #24, takes the floor at the start of game 1 against the Orlando Magic at Staples Center in Los Angeles thursday. Photo by David Crane

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant waves to fans during a parade held for the Los Angeles Lakers to celebrate their NBA Championship Monday, June 21, 2010 in Los Angeles. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Phil Jackson and player Kobe Bryant during practice at the Staples Center Wednesday, June 2, 2010. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant #24 smiles as he sits on the bench in the 4th period during their game against the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center in Los Angeles April 2, 2010. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Laker #24 Kobe Bryant reacts after scoring late in the 4th period against the Boston Celtics during game 3 of the NBA Finals at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Ca. Tuesday, June 10, 2008. The Lakers defeated the Celtics 87 to 81. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Laker #24 Kobe Bryant hold his finger in the air after scoring against the Indiana Pacers in the fourth quarter during their NBA match up at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA., January 6, 2008. The Lakers defeated the Pacers 112 to 96. (Hans Gutknecht/LA Daily News)

  • (4-30-06 Los Angeles ) Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant and Devean George celebrate Bryant’s shot at the buzzard to beat the Phoenix Suns in overtime of their playoff game by the score of 99 to 98

  • Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant is sprayed with champagne in the locker room after his team defeated the New Jersey Nets to win the 2002 NBA championship. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

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Southern California fans will also celebrate Kobe Bryant Day, the day after his birthday, on Monday, Aug. 24, a date that contains both his Lakers jersey numbers, 8 and 24.

A helicopter crash took the lives of Kobe and his daughter, Gianna, as well as seven other people aboard on Jan. 26.

 

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Kobe Bryant’s pilot counseled on flying in low visibility after improper flight path in 2015

Kobe Bryant’s helicopter pilot violated federal flight rules in 2015 when he flew without permission into Los Angeles International Airport’s airspace in weather conditions that affected his ability to maintain visual clearance as required by the tower, records show.

Ara Zobayan, who piloted the Island Express Helicopter that crashed last month into a fog-shrouded hillside in Calabasas, killing Bryant, his daughter and seven other people, was counseled after the 2015 incident on, among other things, “reviewing weather and anticipating required action,” according to Federal Aviation Administration enforcement records obtained Friday under the Freedom of Information Act.

Zobayan’s history as a pilot is part of the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the cause of the fiery crash. The NTSB has issued an initial report that the engine did not appear to have failed.

The FAA enforcement documents said on May 11, 2015 Zobayan was operating an AS350 helicopter near Hawthorne Airport and the 105 Freeway. He was expecting, the report says, to enter the busy LAX airspace.

Zobayan was told by the tower that the airfield was reporting less than what is called basic visual flight rules – that is, three miles of visibility and a cloud ceiling of at least 1,000 feet.

The tower denied Zobayan’s request to circumvent the visual requirement, but he still entered – flying by sight – while communicating with the tower, records show. FAA officials later concluded that “had Mr. Zobayan properly planned and reviewed current weather at LAX, he would have been able to anticipate the required action to transit (LAX airspace).”

Zobayan subsequently reported the incident to the proper authorities and admitted his error, records say. No remedial training was required. However, he was counseled on operating in LAX airspace and flying under special visual flight rules for bad weather.

“There are no indications this is a repeated incident and there are no signs that this incident is a trend with Mr. Zobayan,” the FAA documents say.

Since the crash, questions were raised about the absence of a terrain warning system, which the helicopter was not required to have. The system gives detailed visuals of surrounding terrain and triggers alerts.

A recurring topic about the incident has been the presence of fog that Sunday morning.

A witness on a bike trail told investigators that the area was surrounded by mist when he heard the helicopter. The sound got louder and he saw the blue and white aircraft emerge from clouds before hitting the ground.

Since then, memorials for the basketball star and the other passengers have been held all over Southern California. Last week, the Lakers announced how people can try to get tickets for the highly anticipated memorial for Bryant and his daughter at the Staples Center on Monday, Feb. 24.

 

 

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Cheering for Kobe Bryant was a ticket to Southern California life for many of the region’s Asian Americans

With limited English, 10-year-old James Kim broke the ice at lunch with his new classmates talking about Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, and how they took the Los Angeles Lakers to the championships in 2001.

Now living in Long Beach, cheering for Bryant was how Anne Milo Shanahan still connected with cousins back home in the Philippines.

  • Laker fans gather in front of a mural of Kobe Bryant on the 1300 block of Lebanon Street across from the LA Convention center in Los Angeles Monday, January 27, 2020. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 28: Fans leave condolence message on boards to pay their respects to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, 13, at a memorial set up outside of Staples Center on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Kobe his daughter Gianna, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash on January 26 in Calabasas, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 28: Fans gather to pay their respects to Kobe Bryant at LA Live on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 28: Items left by fans to pay their respects to Kobe Bryant at LA Live on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 28: Fans shoot baskets at a memorial wall near Staples Center in honor of former NBA great Kobe Bryant who, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, died January 26 in a helicopter crash, on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Kobe and “Gigi” were among nine people killed in the crash in Calabasas, California as they were flying to his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, where he was going to coach her in a tournament game. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • People mourn Kobe Bryant outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier is lit in purple and gold in honor of LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.
    (Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

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And, watching the basketball legend run the court on television with her 90-year-old grandmother are special memories for Yvette Tung.

“That’s what you talked to people about,” Tung, 38, of Hacienda Heights, said. “All of a sudden, you have integrated. You’re in LA now.”

Southern California’s Asian American and Pacific Islander community grew significantly in the 2000s, just as Bryant reached his peak with the Lakers. For many in the community trying to find their place in the ever-sprawling region, Bryant was their gateway to Southern California and its culture, to a classroom with few immigrant peers, to a family divided by generations or continents.

And with the news of his death and eight others on Sunday, Jan. 26, in a helicopter crash in the Calabasas hills, several said they still find themselves mourning days later.

“Kobe was our guy,” Josh Chung, 26, of Los Angeles, said. “Now, it’s all gone.”

In 2000, Kim was dropped into foreign surroundings when his family moved from South Korea. He hadn’t watched many Laker games in Korea, but in Burbank he found new friends as he fell in love with the team just “when Kobe and Shaq were going nuts.”

“It was always the topic of conversation you can bring up to people,” Kim said. “Our core friend group was white kids, Mexican kids, half-Asian kids, but we were religiously following Kobe. That was really what tied us together.”

“Ask a Korean” blogger who writes under the pen name T.K. Park moved to Cerritos from Korea as a 10th grader in 1996, just as rookie Bryant was emerging with the Lakers.

“Just starting conversation was so much easier. You had to just talk about the Lakers,” said Park, who now lives on the East Coast. “It’s like magic, where you have to say a certain word and you gain admission into the society.”

Southern California is “self-segregated,” he said, “there’s nothing that really holds it together other than sports.”

And, you didn’t have to be a kid to find a lifeline in Bryant. Tung said her grandmother emigrated from Taiwan to the United States in the mid-1990s. Ready to move beyond the safety of a familiar mahjong club, her grandmother gravitated toward watching Laker games, Tung said.

“She would relate to the small guys because my grandmother used to be a small guard too,” Tung said. “And she really, really appreciated that Kobe makes most of his free throws.”

Her grandmother doesn’t know English well – she calls players by their numbers – but she and Tung can connect watching and talking about the Lakers.

“It’s really been a connecting tissue,” she said.

Shanahan came to the United States from the Philippines when she was turning 5 and has lived in Long Beach ever since. She remembers when Bryant visited the island country in 1998, dancing with the locals and checking out basketball courts.

“It really helped the Filipino community feel close to him,” Shanahan said. “We don’t have a lot of prevalent icons, so he kind of felt like that for many of us.”

Chung said he also saw a dedication in Bryant that resonated with him and a lot of his friends.

“We grew up with people telling us, whether parents or coaches, you have to work hard,” he said, “and that’s that immigrant narrative that a lot of us saw in Kobe.”

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