27 Jan 2020

Kobe Bryant 'a genuinely nice person' - Newport Beach mayor

From Checkpoint, 5:14 pm on 27 January 2020

The world is mourning a basketball legend after former NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash along with seven others in Los Angeles on Sunday morning (local time).

Bryant lived with his family in Newport Beach. The city's Mayor, Will O'Neill, told Checkpoint the community had not only lost a legend but a much-loved neighbour.

"It's been awful… He was a genuinely good person, a nice person, he was someone if you walked up to at Starbucks or in the grocery store, he'd take a smiling picture and, that's who he was, a part of the community, a neighbour."

Seven of the helicopter crash victims were from Newport Beach, O'Neill said. "We've, lost mothers and fathers, we've lost daughters and sisters, it's awful."

Bryant had daughters and was a regular parent at many events, O'Neill said.

"You would see him at basketball games, you'd see him at the park, you'd see him around and all over our city.

"We feel like we've lost a neighbour and unfortunately we lost six more today as well. It's hard to process.

"He was generous to charities and… there have been great stories being told about him - coming to the aid of people who got into car accidents.

He said the community is shell-shocked. "Not just losing Kobe, losing his daughter who was 13, losing two more girls who are friends of hers. Losing parents.

"There are a lot of families that are devastated. I'm sure trying to come to grips with this and we share their pain."