News of the death of Kobe Bryant sent shockwaves across the sporting fraternity this week. There was an outpour of support for Kobe Bryant's family after the tragedy. A number of players in the NBA paid tribute to Kobe Bryant on the court, with Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young and the Washington Wizards taking eight-second and 24-second violations during their game at the Phillips Arena earlier this week. The Lakers vs Clippers match-up was also postponed in wake of the incident. Reports have now emerged that Clippers star Kawhi Leonard often worked with the pilot who was handling the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.
Doc Rivers on what Kobe Bryant meant to our players. pic.twitter.com/xDe58kwTJ3— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 27, 2020
Ara Zobayan was the man who was entrusted with taking Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks just outside the city. According to audio recordings between Zobayan and air traffic control, Zobayan had received Special Visual Flight Rules (SVFR) clearance moments before the flight.
NBA insider Chris Haynes reported that Kawhi Leonard often worked with the same pilot. He also had a close relationship with Kobe Bryant, like a number of NBA stars. According to a prominent newspaper in Los Angeles, Zobayan was an experienced pilot and certified flight instructor with more than 8,000 hours of flight time.
"Just knowing him personally, I know he'd want me to come out here and try to ball"— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 27, 2020
Kawhi on Kobe Bryant after the game. pic.twitter.com/3trPWyEVMP
The Los Angeles County coroner's office said that all the nine bodies of the victims of the helicopter crash were recovered and have been "transported to the department's Forensic Science Center," the coroner's department said in a statement. Developments in the 'Kobe Bryant helicopter crash update' story say that heavy fog in the area that limited visibility and low altitude for Zoboyan’s flight are the major factors for the crash.