Authorities in Los Angeles say they are looking into how sensitive photos from the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash site were leaked to the public, and Vanessa Bryant has weighed in on the situation with a formal statement.
Vanessa Bryant’s legal team released a statement on her behalf Sunday blasting the Los Angeles Count Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department for the “inexcusable and deplorable” behavior of some of its deputies.
“This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families,” the statement read. “We are demanding that those responsible for these alleged actions face the harshest possible discipline, and that their identities be brought to light, to ensure that the photos are not further disseminated. We are requesting an Internal Affairs investigation of these alleged incidents.”
The Los Angeles Times first reported on Friday that deputies shared graphic photos — including some that showed remains — of the site where Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crashed. Officials became aware that the photos were shared just two days after the crash.
According to TMZ, one of the deputies showed the photos to a woman at a bar while trying to impress her. The bartender saw what happened and filed an online complaint with the Sheriff’s Department. The photos were also shared at the Lost Hills Sheriff’s substation, and deputies from other substations also reportedly took unauthorized photos on their cell phones.
Vanessa Bryant will unfortunately have to deal with a lot of legal trouble now in addition to losing her husband and 13-year-old daughter Gianna. She has already filed one lawsuit, and there could be more coming.
Numerous fans and friends have been paying tribute to the late Kobe Bryant by getting tattoos honoring him and his daughter, Gianna, who were among nine people who died in a helicopter crash on January 26. One of Kobe’s sisters is also paying tribute with some ink.
Sharia Washington, who is the oldest of the three Bryant children, got a tattoo of the numbers 2 and 24, which were Gigi and Kobe’s respective numbers. The numbers are wrapped by a mamba snake, representing Kobe’s “Black Mamba” nickname, that weaves an “8” — which was Kobe’s other number.
Lamar Odom has recently been hearing some criticism from fans who are unhappy that he pawned his Los Angeles Lakers championship rings, and the former NBA star wishes one of his closest friends were still around to give him advice on how to handle the situation.
Odom and Kobe Bryant were close during their time playing together and afterword, and Odom told TMZ this week that he is hurting over Kobe’s death like many others. Bryant helped Odom through some of his lowest moments in life, and Odom says he would have leaned on Kobe for advice with many Lakers fans currently upset with him.
“I miss him just for his advice,” Odom said. “The first advice I would ask him for is how do I get these fans to forgive me for pawning those rings — just for his brotherhood and leadership.”
Odom nearly died of a drug overdose back in 2015. The incident took place not long after two of his closest friends died, and Kobe was one of the first people to reach out to Odom to help him then. Odom must be struggling with yet another major loss in his life.
Bryant’s parents were at Monday’s memorial at Staples Center honoring Kobe and Gianna. During TNT’s postgame show Tuesday, Shaq shared that he sat next to Bryant’s parents at the ceremony. The Big Fella shouted them out with a very thoughtful message on TV.
“I want to shout out Kobe’s parents. I was sitting next to them, and of course I’ve known them for a while. I just want to send my condolences to them. They don’t really get mentioned a lot, but just want you to let you know if you ever need me, I’m always going to be there for you,” Shaq said.
One of the last things Kobe Bryant did before he died in a helicopter crash last month was try to use his connections to help a family friend, and MLB agent Scott Boras is going to make sure Kobe’s wish is carried out.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, who was best friends with Kobe and the godfather of Gianna Bryant, told a touching story at the memorial service for Kobe and Gianna on Monday about how Kobe tried to help a family friend secure an internship in the minutes before his death. While flying in the helicopter that would eventually crash into the Calabasas hillside, Bryant texted Pelinka asking if the GM could contact “a certain baseball agent based in Southern California” on behalf of John Altobelli’s 16-year-old daughter, Alexis. Altobelli, a longtime baseball coach at Orange Coast College, also died in the helicopter crash with his wife Keri and 14-year-old daughter Alyssa, who played with Gianna at the Mamba Academy.
“Kobe’s last human act was heroic,” Pelinka said. “He wanted to use his platform to bless and shape a young girl’s future.”
Bryant wanted help from Pelinka getting in touch with Scott Boras, who Kobe hoped would consider Alexis for an internship. Boras told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times this week that he will create an internship for Alexis. The agent said plans were already in place before the crash to have John and Alexis visit Boras’ office and explore the possibility of Alexis gaining work experience by interning there. Boras knew John from when Dallas Keuchel — a Boras client — pitched simulated games against Altobelli’s OCC players to work on his arm strength.
Boras says he has been in contact with J.J. Altobelli, who is Alexis’ brother and a scout with the Boston Red Sox. Boras and Bryant belonged to the same church in Newport Beach but never exchanged phone numbers, which is why Kobe wanted Pelinka’s help getting in touch with Boras.
It’s impossible to imagine the pain Alexis and J.J. are experiencing after losing their mother, father and sister in a tragedy. John Altobelli was a respected member of the baseball community, and it sounds like both Alexis and J.J. are well positioned to carry out that legacy.
Tom Brady has paid tribute to Kobe Bryant in subtle ways since the NBA legend died in a helicopter crash last month, but Brady decided to wait until after Monday’s memorial service to share some more in-depth thoughts about the tragedy.
Brady issued a lengthy statement on social media Tuesday morning, with the quarterback saying he has been “deeply affected” by the death of Kobe, Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and the seven others who died in the helicopter accident. Brady tried to put into words why the tragedy has “kept me up at night and brought me so many tears.”
“Kobe didn’t care whether you were a man or woman, boy or girl, black or white, rich or poor, ordinary or extraordinary, he wanted to help you become the best that you could be,” Brady wrote. “His mere presence had an effect on everybody he was around. He had the energy to recognize in others what they could not recognize in themselves. I think that’s why I will miss him most. Because we all know the world needs more of that leadership and positivity.”
Shaquille O’Neal gave an awesome speech at the memorial service held for Kobe Bryant and Kobe’s daughter, Gianna, on Monday.
Shaq kept his speech short and — to the surprise of no one — lightened things up for the thousands of fans at Staples Center. One of the best parts about the speech was when he spoke about the day Kobe earned his respect when the two were teammates with the Los Angeles Lakers. Shaq said some other Lakers players were complaining about Kobe not passing the ball, and Shaq told his teammates he’d talk to Kobe about it. When he told Kobe there’s no “I” in team, O’Neal says Bryant responded that “there’s an ‘M-E’ in that motherf—er.’ The F-bomb was caught on live TV.
Shaq tells a story about telling Kobe there's no I in team, and Kobe said "I know, but here's an M and an E in that motherf*cker" pic.twitter.com/PTRarVYOpy
There were plenty of tearful moments during the memorial, but Shaq gave fans, friends and family what we have come to expect from The Big Fella. Michael Jordan also gave a great speech that included a well-timed joke, so the legends of the NBA did their best to make Monday a celebration of life while also mourning a terrible loss.
Monday’s memorial for Kobe and Gianna Bryant was a somber time for many and resulted in a lot of crying and sadness, even for Michael Jordan. But it also led to a hilarious joke.
MJ was the first speaker after Alicia Keys performed Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” on the piano during the memorial at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“Now he’s got me. I’ll have to look at another crying meme for the next … I told my wife I wasn’t going to do this, because I didn’t want to see this for the next 3-4 years. That is what Kobe Bryant does to me!” MJ said.
The “Crying Jordan” meme has its origins in Jordan crying during his 2009 Hall of Fame speech. The photo started being used as a Photoshop for moments of embarrassment, and it was widespread on the Internet around 2016 and 2017, even making a game show, though it has died down since.
MJ probably doesn’t need to worry about it now any more.
Vanessa Bryant was the first speaker at the memorial for her late husband Kobe and daughter, Gianna, at Staples Center on Monday in Los Angeles, and delivered incredible eulogies for them both.
Vanessa spoke for 22 minutes, first about daughter Gianna, and next about Kobe. She described each of their characters, talked about her fondest memories of them, and shared intimate details about each of them.
Here is video of her entire speech. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s well worth your time:
Vanessa and Kobe met in 1999 when she was 17. They got married in 2001 and have been together ever since. They had four children — all daughters — Gianna being their second-oldest girl. Kobe was 41 and Gianna 13 when they died in a helicopter crash on January 26 that killed nine people.
There were a lot of tearful moments at the memorial service for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on Monday, but UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma did his best to help keep things light.
Auriemma was one of several people who spoke at the remembrance. The 11-time national champion had a close relationship with Kobe, who made a huge impact in the women’s basketball community. During his speech, Auriemma joked about how he felt bad for Gianna when Geno learned that Kobe would be coaching Gianna’s team. Auriemma said he found it ironic when “the uncoachable one” reached out to him for advice about coaching. The UConn coach then joked that he knew Gianna wasn’t listening to her father’s advice when he saw Gianna pass the ball to one of her teammates.
Geno Auriemma: "He said, 'I'm coaching my daughter's team.' I said, 'Oh, my god. That poor kid.' So when I watched highlights of her playing, on about the 3rd or 4th time she touched the ball, Gianna passed it when she was open. I thought, 'she's not listening to her father.'" pic.twitter.com/e4xuVwpMKa
Bryant was certainly known more for scoring than passing, and that is something he had no problem owning. It’s also a mentality that made him one of the greatest players of all time, so poking fun at him for being a ball hog is in many ways a compliment.