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Jimmy Kimmel Live films without a studio audience on Monday to honor Kobe Bryant

An emotional Jimmy Kimmel paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant during Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday, as he filmed without a studio audience to honour the NBA star.

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion in two decades with the Los Angeles Lakers, died on Sunday aged 41 in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles that killed nine, including his daughter Gigi, 13.  

Kimmel said: ‘Tonight’s show is going to be different from our usual show. We don’t have a studio audience here tonight because going forward with a comedy show didn’t feel right considering what happened yesterday.

Tribute: An emotional Jimmy Kimmel paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant during Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday, as he filmed without a studio audience to honour the NBA star 

Tribute:  Bryant, a five-time NBA champion in two decades with the Los Angeles Lakers, died on Sunday aged 41 in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles that killed nine, including his daughter Gigi, 13 (above with Kimmel in March 2018)

Tribute:  Bryant, a five-time NBA champion in two decades with the Los Angeles Lakers, died on Sunday aged 41 in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles that killed nine, including his daughter Gigi, 13 (above with Kimmel in March 2018)

He added that the death of Bryant, his daughter and seven others in the helicopter crash Sunday was, ‘a punch in the gut for many of us.’ 

‘Kobe was, and I know this might not make sense, but he was just the last person you could ever imagine something like this happening to,’ Kimmel said. 

The late night talk show host described Bryant as a ‘hero,’ but not in the same sense as firefighters, doctors and nurses because there are, ‘more important things than basketball. Almost everything is more important.

Shock: He added that the death of Bryant, his daughter and seven others in the helicopter crash Sunday was, 'a punch in the gut for many of us' (above in March 2018)

Shock: He added that the death of Bryant, his daughter and seven others in the helicopter crash Sunday was, ‘a punch in the gut for many of us’ (above in March 2018)

No sense: 'Kobe was, and I know this might not make sense, but he was just the last person you could ever imagine something like this happening to,' Kimmel said

No sense: ‘Kobe was, and I know this might not make sense, but he was just the last person you could ever imagine something like this happening to,’ Kimmel said

Tragedy: He added that the death of Bryant, his 13 year old daughter Gianna and seven others in the helicopter crash Sunday was, 'a punch in the gut for many of us'

Tragedy: He added that the death of Bryant, his 13 year old daughter Gianna and seven others in the helicopter crash Sunday was, ‘a punch in the gut for many of us’

‘But Kobe was a hero in the way Superman is a hero. He was so big, it was almost like he was a fictional character. He was a real-life superhero with a costume and everything walking amongst us,’ Kimmel poignantly added.

He said this description was true for fans of the Los Angeles Lakers, because it seemed like, ‘he always came through, he always showed up to save the day.’

‘As an athlete he was incredibly gifted, more than almost anyone. He was talented beyond reason. And yet he worked harder than everyone. He worked harder than people with much less talent than he had,’ Kimmel added.

Hero: 'But Kobe was a hero in the way Superman is a hero. He was so big, it was almost like he was a fictional character. He was a real-life superhero with a costume and everything walking amongst us,' Kimmel poignantly added

Hero: ‘But Kobe was a hero in the way Superman is a hero. He was so big, it was almost like he was a fictional character. He was a real-life superhero with a costume and everything walking amongst us,’ Kimmel poignantly added

Heartbreak: He said: 'Kobe was a hero in the way Superman is a hero. He was so big, it was almost like he was a fictional character. He was a real-life superhero with a costume'

Heartbreak: He said: ‘Kobe was a hero in the way Superman is a hero. He was so big, it was almost like he was a fictional character. He was a real-life superhero with a costume’

Bryant came directly out of Lower Merion high school in Ardmore, Pennsylvania to enter the NBA Draft in 1996, where he was selected in the first round by the Charlotte Hornets, who traded Bryant to the Los Angeles Lakers.

In his 20-year career, all with the Lakers, he won five NBA Championships and was named to 18 All-Star teams while being named NBA MVP in 2008. 

Kimmel added that the city ‘watched him grow up here,’ adding that, unlike most athletes, he only wore two uniforms, ‘for the Lakers and for the United States Olympic Team,’ which he won two gold medals in 2008 and 2012.   

Gold medal: Kimmel added that the city 'watched him grow up here,' adding that, unlike most athletes, he only wore two uniforms, 'for the Lakers and for the United States Olympic Team,' which he won two gold medals in 2008 and 2012

Gold medal: Kimmel added that the city ‘watched him grow up here,’ adding that, unlike most athletes, he only wore two uniforms, ‘for the Lakers and for the United States Olympic Team,’ which he won two gold medals in 2008 and 2012

Career: In his 20-year career, all with the Lakers, he won five NBA Championships and was named to 18 All-Star teams while being named NBA MVP in 2008

Career: In his 20-year career, all with the Lakers, he won five NBA Championships and was named to 18 All-Star teams while being named NBA MVP in 2008

‘He’s someone almost everyone in the city loved. And not just Lakers fans. Everyone would light up when they saw him,’ Kimmel added.

The talk show host added that Bryant had numerous interests outside of sports, adding that he sent him a book to read when he was injured, ‘and to my surprise he read it and then called me to discuss it in maniacal detail. He wanted to know everything about it.’

Kimmel added a more personal story as well, stating that when his son Billy had his heart surgery, Bryant, ‘made a point’ to meet him after he was out of the hospital, adding, ‘from time to time he would check in to see how he was doing.’

Interests: The talk show host added that Bryant had numerous interests outside of sports, adding that he sent him a book to read when he was injured, 'and to my surprise he read it and then called me to discuss it in maniacal detail. He wanted to know everything about it'

Interests: The talk show host added that Bryant had numerous interests outside of sports, adding that he sent him a book to read when he was injured, ‘and to my surprise he read it and then called me to discuss it in maniacal detail. He wanted to know everything about it’

Light up: 'He's someone almost everyone in the city loved. And not just Lakers fans. Everyone would light up when they saw him,' Kimmel added

Light up: ‘He’s someone almost everyone in the city loved. And not just Lakers fans. Everyone would light up when they saw him,’ Kimmel added

Kimmel acknowledge that, ‘he was not a perfect person’ and that he did not intend to, ‘canonize him or make judgments about things I don’t know anything about.’

‘But I will say he loved his family, he worked very hard, and he brought a lot of joy to a lot of people in this city and we’re going to miss him,’ Kimmel said.

He then asked the viewing audience to pray for Bryant’s wife Vanessa, ‘for the three girls Kobe left behind who lost their father and their sister, and for his friends who were on that flight with him. The Altobelli family, Christina Mauser’s family, the Chester family, Sarah Zobayan, the pilot.’

Not perfect: Kimmel acknowledge that, 'he was not a perfect person' and that he did not intend to, 'canonize him or make judgments about things I don't know anything about.'

Not perfect: Kimmel acknowledge that, ‘he was not a perfect person’ and that he did not intend to, ‘canonize him or make judgments about things I don’t know anything about.’

No lining: He added there is, 'no silver lining' in Bryant's death, adding, 'He was a bright light. And that's how I want to remember him'

No lining: He added there is, ‘no silver lining’ in Bryant’s death, adding, ‘He was a bright light. And that’s how I want to remember him’

He added there is, ‘no silver lining’ in Bryant’s death, adding, ‘He was a bright light. And that’s how I want to remember him.’

‘He was on the show 15 times. We had many fun and interesting conversations. And tonight we are going to share some of those to remember him. Starting with what turned out to be the last interview I got to do with him from September of last year.

He concluded by stating, ‘Please wish a warm taco Tuesday to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.’

Jimmy Fallon, 45, told an anecdote of how he first met Kobe when the star was a 17-year-old rookie player with the Lakers on The Tonight Show.

Conclusion: He concluded by stating, 'Please wish a warm taco Tuesday to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant'

Conclusion: He concluded by stating, ‘Please wish a warm taco Tuesday to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant’

Fallon said he and Kobe travelled to delivery-only grocery store Pink Dot for a beer run, with Kobe using his status as an NBA player to get the beer.   

He said: ‘Kobe takes out his ID and he puts it up against the glass and he goes, “I’m a Laker!” 

 ‘The guy opened the door and we walked out with five cases of beer and saved the party.’

‘Kobe, when we meet again, we’re going on a beer run.’ 

Missed: Jimmy Fallon told an anecdote of how he first met Kobe when the star was a 17-year-old rookie player with the Lakers

Missed: Jimmy Fallon told an anecdote of how he first met Kobe when the star was a 17-year-old rookie player with the Lakers

Memory: Missed: Fallon said he and Kobe travelled to delivery-only grocery store Pink Dot for a beer run, with Kobe using his status as an NBA player to get the beer (pictured April 2017)

Memory: Missed: Fallon said he and Kobe travelled to delivery-only grocery store Pink Dot for a beer run, with Kobe using his status as an NBA player to get the beer (pictured April 2017)

Grieving: Conan O'Brien, 56, who films talk show Conan in Burbank, California, praised Kobe's charm and sense of honour before playing a montage of the sportsman's appearances on the show

Grieving: Conan O’Brien, 56, who films talk show Conan in Burbank, California, praised Kobe’s charm and sense of honour before playing a montage of the sportsman’s appearances on the show

He said: He said: 'He was naturally very funny and charming, he really was,' A terrific guest. 'A superstar does not have to be a great guest but he just was' (pictured June 2009)

He said: He said: ‘He was naturally very funny and charming, he really was,’ A terrific guest. ‘A superstar does not have to be a great guest but he just was’ (pictured June 2009)

Conan O’Brien, 56, who films talk show Conan in Burbank, California, praised Kobe’s charm and sense of honour before playing a montage of the sportsman’s appearances on the show.     

He said: ‘He was naturally very funny and charming, he really was,’ A terrific guest. 

‘A superstar does not have to be a great guest but he just was. Whenever he was on our show, he was a joy to talk with.  

‘That’s the guy I’ve been thinking about the last 24 hours.’   

Among those killed in the crash were John Altobelli, 56, longtime head coach of Southern California’s Orange Coast College baseball team; his wife, Keri; and daughter, Alyssa, who played on the same basketball team as Bryant’s daughter; and Christina Mauser, a girls’ basketball coach at a Southern California elementary school.

Another young player, Payton Chester, was also killed in the crash along with her mother Sarah Chester.

Kobe Bryant: The death that shocked the world 

Kobe Bryant, one of the NBA’s all-time greatest players and an athlete of global renown, was killed at age 41 on Sunday in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven on board. 

Bryant rocketed to fame as an 18-year-old rookie and played 20 years for the Los Angeles Lakers, 18 as an all-star forward, and won five NBA championships.

His death sent shockwaves through the National Basketball Association, which he helped propel to international prominence, and stunned fans around the world.

The cause of the crash was unknown, and an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board could take months.

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna (pictured together in December) and seven others were killed when his private helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning. A Los Angeles Police Department spokesman confirmed their Air Support Division was grounded, adding: 'The weather situation did not meet our minimum standards for flying'

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna (pictured together in December) and seven others were killed when his private helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning. A Los Angeles Police Department spokesman confirmed their Air Support Division was grounded, adding: ‘The weather situation did not meet our minimum standards for flying’

Bryant was known since his playing days to travel frequently by helicopter to avoid the Los Angeles area’s notorious traffic.

His Sikorsky S-76 craft went down in low clouds and foggy weather shortly before 10 a.m. (1800 GMT) in hilly terrain just outside Calabasas, California, about 40 miles (65 km) northwest of central Los Angeles, sparking a brush fire, officials said.

‘There were no survivors,’ county sheriff Alex Villanueva told a news conference, saying the flight manifest showed nine people on board. He declined to identify them.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver confirmed Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among those killed, and sent condolences to Bryant’s wife, Vanessa.

‘He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game, with accomplishments that are legendary,’ Silver said, as tributes poured in from players, politicians and entertainers.

The fire and debris field from the crash spread over a quarter-acre of steep terrain in the grass-covered foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said.

Others on board besides the pilot were a teammate from Bryant’s daughter’s basketball squad and a parent of the teammate, NBC News reported.

Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli was also one of the victims, the Orange County Register said, citing assistant coach Ron La Ruffa.

Weather was likely to figure prominently in the crash investigation. Fog in the area was so bad that the Los Angeles Police Department had grounded its helicopter fleet on Sunday morning, the Los Angeles Times and CNN reported.

The smoking wreckage of the helicopter which crashed on a California hillside on Sunday morning, killing all nine people on board including NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna

The smoking wreckage of the helicopter which crashed on a California hillside on Sunday morning, killing all nine people on board including NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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