Lakers honor Kobe Bryant’s birthday with gift to UCLA hospital newborns
On what would’ve been Kobe Bryant’s 44th birthday on Tuesday, Aug. 23, the Lakers honored the late legend by giving newborns at UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital Bryant-inspired gifts who were born on the same day as him.
This is the second year the Lakers have donated a care package for the newborns on Bryant’s birthday. The five-time NBA champion died in a helicopter crash in Jan. 2020.
In photos shared by the Lakers on Tuesday, the newborn can be seen sporting a beanie with Bryant’s infamous No. 8 on it, while the mom wears Bryant’s other notable No. 24 on her shirt.
The team also included a note to each newborn at the hospital.
“WELCOME TO THE WORLD!” the note reads. “One of your family’s most special days has landed on one of our organization’s most celebrated days. On this year’s Kobe Day, here’s to your next-generation Lakers fan. They’ve already got a little of the Mamba Mentality in them.”
Kobe Bryant’s death
At 9:06 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on January 26, 2020, a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter departed from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, with nine people aboard: Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, six family friends, and the pilot, Ara Zobayan. The helicopter was registered to the Fillmore-based Island Express Holding Corp., according to the California Secretary of State business database. The group was traveling to Camarillo Airport in Ventura County for a basketball game at Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks.
Due to light rain and fog that morning, the Los Angeles Police Department helicopters and most other air traffic were grounded. The flight tracker showed that the helicopter circled above the L.A. Zoo due to heavy air traffic in the area. At 9:30 a.m., Zobayan contacted the Burbank Airport’s control tower, notifying the tower of the situation, and was told he was “flying too low” to be tracked by radar. At that time, the helicopter experienced extreme fog and turned south towards the mountains. At 9:40 a.m., the helicopter climbed rapidly from 1,200 to 2,000 feet (370 to 610 m), flying at 161 knots (298 km/h; 185 mph).
At 9:45 a.m., the helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain in Calabasas, about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and began burning. Bryant, his daughter, and the other seven occupants were all killed on impact. Initial reports indicated that the helicopter crashed in the hills above Calabasas in heavy fog. Witnesses reported hearing a helicopter struggling before crashing.
Investigations into Kobe Bryant’s death
On January 28, Bryant’s identity was officially confirmed using fingerprints. The following day, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner stated that the official cause of death for him and the eight others on the helicopter was blunt force trauma.
The Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, and the FBI launched investigations into the crash. The cause of the crash was hard to investigate, as the helicopter was not equipped with a black box. Over a year after the crash, on February 9, 2021, the NTSB declared that pilot Ara Zobayan probably became disoriented after flying into thick clouds. The five board members also said Zobayan, who also died in the crash, ignored his training and violated federal regulations during the 40-minute flight.
Share your thoughts on the story Lakers honor Kobe Bryant’s birthday with gift to UCLA hospital newborns with Online News in the comments section.