Sikorsky S-76 helicopter made by Lockheed Martin Black Hawk manufacturer

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.

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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.

»PHOTOS: Life and times of NBA legend Kobe Bryant

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.

NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died Jan. 26, 2020, played the Atlanta Hawks many times during his 20-year career. Here, Bryant and Jamal Crawford battle in 2010 at Philips Arena. Zaza Pachulia and Mario West try bottling up Bryant in 2009 in Atlanta. Bryant was on his way to a basketball game when a fatal helicopter crash happened 30 miles from Los Angeles. Here, Bryant shoots over Kirk Hinrich and Al Horford in 2011. Bryant and four other passengers were in a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter when it crashed. Here,

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.

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He teamed with Shaquille O’Neal in a combustible partnership to lead the Lakers to NBA titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002. He later teamed with Pau Gasol to win two more titles in 2009 and 2010.

Bryant retired in 2016 after scoring 60 points in his final NBA game.

»MORE: How Kobe Bryant enjoyed Atlanta

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.