It was a dark day in the basketball realm Sunday as a helicopter crash killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others on board outside of Los Angeles.
Besides Kobe and Gianna ‘GiGi’ Bryant, the other seven on board were identified as the family of John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli, basketball coach Christine Mauser, Sarah and Payton Chester, and pilot Ara Zobayan.
All of them were on their way to a travel basketball game in a tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy at the time of the crash.
And down below are the brief bios of the victims and what they meant to others around them.
Kobe and Gianna Bryant
Through all the accolades and achievements he made over the years, Kobe was known as an 18-time NBA All-Star, the 2008 NBA MVP, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, and was a five-time NBA Champion. He is currently listed in fourth place all-time for points scored in the league, after good friend and current Laker LeBron James passed him for third place just a couple days ago.
GiGi was following in his father’s shadow in playing basketball. She really wanted to play for coach Geno Auriemma and the UConn Women’s Basketball Team when she would go to college. And according to Kobe’s former teammate Derek Fisher, GiGi had a ‘similar demeanor and personality’ to her father.
John was a college baseball coach for 27 seasons at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California. He was named national coach of the year just last year and went to the state’s final four in 2018.
According to the school’s athletic director, Jason Kehler, the coach meant so much more than the university.
“John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball,” Kehler said. “He truly personified what it means to be a baseball coach. The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none — he treated them like family.”
Alyssa was along for the ride to the game as Gianna’s teammate, with Keri also accompanying her to the tournament.
Mauser was an assistant coach for Bryant’s team and coached GiGi to a school championship back in 2017 and according to a source, known for coaching the defense for them. Her husband, Matthew, was also a coach of the championship-winning team.
It’s horrible,” Matthew said. “I’ve got three small kids, and I’m trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom.”
Payton and Sarah Chester
Payton Chester was a teammate of Gianna’s basketball team and her mom, Sarah, was also involved in the crash.
“Payton had a smile and personality that would light any room, and a passion for the game of basketball. She found joy on any court and loved all of her teammates and coaches,” the Chester family said to USA Today.
“Sarah was full of life and the glue of our family. She was a tireless force in support of her family. The love we feel from so many today is a testament to the community she created for us.”
Known for being an instructor and friend of Kobe Brant, Zobayan earned his pilot license certificate back in 2007. He has flown helicopters for celebrities such as the likes of Kylie Jenner among others.
Fellow pilot and close fried Jared Yochim said in a Facebook post that Ara was ‘an incredible pilot’ and an great man.’
As the investigation on the crash and the mourning from many celebrities, fans and athletes continue, we too shall be giving our thoughts and prayers to the victims’ families affected by Sunday’s tragedy.