The untimely passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other passengers following a crash on Bryant’s private helicopter has shaken sports fans all over the world. Among those mourning his passing are members of Gracie Barra Thousand Oaks, who train jiu-jitsu inside Mamba Sports Academy, which was co-founded by Bryant. The facility hosts IBJJF World Champion Gabriel Arges’ academy along with basketball, volleyball, football, and other athletic programs. All the passengers on Bryant’s helicopter were going to Mamba Sports Academy when the helicopter crashed.
Mamba Sports Academy has now shared a statement about the tragic event:
“The Mamba Sports Academy family is devastated by the passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven other people lost on Sunday. We send our love and thoughts to the Bryant family and to the families and friends of Alyssa, John, and Keri Altobelli; Payton and Sarah Chester; Christina Mauser; and Ara Zobayan.
Kobe Bryant was so much more than a partner in Mamba Sports Academy. He was a caring father, husband, coach, and champion of youth sports. We mourn not only one of the greatest athletes of all time, but an active and engaged member of our community, and a visionary whose impact was only beginning to be felt by society. He will be remembered most for the care he placed and pleasure he took in educating the next generation, none more so than Gianna, Alyssa, Payton and their Mamba teammates.
Through the shared values of attention to detail, relentless pursuit of passions, and dedication to excellence, we remain committed to honoring Kobe’s mission of inspiring the next generation of leaders in the world of sports and beyond.
We have established the MambaOnThree Fund to support the other families affected by this tragedy. To help those families, please visit MambaOnThree.org.
For those who are inspired to continue Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org.“
As of now, the Mamba Winter Classic, which will take place at the facility, is still scheduled for February 22.