Kobe Bryant was on the helicopter as dad and coach. 1
Kobe was headed to the basketball game to coach his daughter's basketball team. Yes, he was a former NBA superstar with a long list of accomplishments that he will be remembered for, but on that fateful Sunday, above all else, the 41-year-old was there as a proud and supportive dad.
Gianna Bryant was on her way to being just as good as her dad or even better. 2
A talented basketball player in her own right, 13-year-old Gianna Maria Onore Bryant, or "Gigi" as her dad liked to call her, was headed to play in the scheduled game at Mamba Sports Academy that day. She had a passion for basketball that was so strong that she was determined to end up playing professionally for the Women's National Basketball Association.
John Altobelli was traveling with his wife and daughter. 3
John Altobelli and his wife Keri were on the helicopter with their daughter, Alyssa. Alyssa was a teammate of Gianna's. John was a college baseball coach. Coach "Alto," as the 56-year-old was affectionately known, was getting ready to start on his 28th year of coaching the Orange Coast College Pirates.
Alyssa Altobelli was on her way to play in the game. 5
Alyssa Altobelli, John and Kerri's daughter, was headed to the game in her capacity as a player. Alyssa's dad was a longtime baseball professional, but the 13-year-old had a thing for basketball and her parents were there to support her.
Christina Mauser was a terrific assistant basketball coach. 6
Christina Mauser was a coach at Hardbor Day School in Corona del Mar and Kobe's assistant coach for the Mambas. Christina is survived by her three children and her husband, Matt Mauser. “It’s horrible. I’ve got three small kids and am trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom,” said Matt.
Sarah Chester was traveling with her daughter Payton. 7
Sarah was accompanying her daughter, Payton, who was a teammate of Gianna and Alyssa. Sarah is survived by her husband and her two 16-year-old sons Hayden and Riley.
Payton Chester was on her way to play. 8
According to her uncle Andy George, Payton Chester loved playing with the Mamba team and wanted to continue playing basketball in high school and college. “She was on the Mamba team for years, she loved it,” he said. “It was obviously a big part of her life."
Ara Zobayan was the pilot of the helicopter. 9
Ara Zobayan was an instrument certified pilot who got his commercial pilot's license in 2007. He was also a flight instructor. When Darren Kemp, one of Ara's flight students, found out that Kobe had died in a helicopter crash, he knew that Ara had to be the pilot. "He doesn't let anyone else fly him around but Ara," said Darren. He also said that Ara “was the type of guy you’d call at 3 a.m. with a problem--anything, this or that--and he’d help you out.”