Sikorsky S-76 helicopter made by Lockheed Martin Black Hawk manufacturer
CONTINUING COVERAGE: KOBE BRYANT’S DEATH
By Tim Darnell
Jan 26, 2020
Kobe Bryant, 8 others reportedly killed Sunday in California crash
The helicopter in which NBA legend Kobe Bryant and eight others reportedly died in a Sunday crash is manufactured by the same company that produces the internationally recognized Black Hawk aircraft for the American military.
Bryant, 41, was an 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and was one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Sikorsky S-76 is a medium-sized commercial utility helicopter manufactured by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. based in Stratford, Connecticut, that was founded in 1923. Sikorsky is owned by Maryland-based Lockheed Martin.
According to the company's website, the S-76 can carry up to 12 passengers and costs about $13 million. Its top speed is 178 mph, and it has a range of 472 miles. The copter has twin turbo shaft engines with four blades along a tail rotor and a retractable landing gear.
The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk has been deployed by the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard in missions around the world, including Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Bryant died in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, Calif. The crash happened close to 10 a.m. about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Its cause has not been determined.
Bryant retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history, finishing two decades with the Lakers as a prolific scorer with a sublime all-around game and a relentless competitive ethic. He held that spot in the league scoring ranks until Saturday night, when the Lakers’ LeBron James passed him for third place during a game in Philadelphia, Bryant’s hometown.
Bryant had one of the greatest careers in recent NBA history and became one of the game’s most popular players as the face of the 16-time NBA champion Lakers franchise. He was the league MVP in 2008 and a two-time NBA scoring champion, and he earned 12 selections to the NBA’s All-Defensive teams.
Bryant was a basketball superstar for his entire adult life. He entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996 after a childhood spent partly in Italy, where his father, former NBA player Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, played professionally.
The Lakers acquired the 17-year-old Bryant in a trade shortly after Charlotte drafted him, and he immediately became one of the most exciting and intriguing players in the sport alongside O’Neal, who had signed with the Lakers as a free agent. Bryant won the Slam Dunk Contest as an upstart rookie, and the Lakers gradually grew into a team that won three consecutive championships.
Bryant and Gasol formed the nucleus of another championship team in 2008, reaching three straight NBA Finals and eventually winning two more titles.