Three family members of former University of Oregon baseball star J.J. Altobelli were among those who died in the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa were aboard the helicopter that crashed Sunday in Calabasas, Calif. Alyssa and Bryant’s daughter were basketball teammates at the Mamba Sports Academy owned by Bryant. John Altobelli was a longtime baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Calif.
J.J. Altobelli was not on the helicopter. He played for the Ducks from 2010-2013. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013 and is currently a scout for the Boston Red Sox.
Kobe's Oregon Ties:
Oregon standout women’s basketball player Sabrina Ionescu considered Bryant a close friend. Ionescu was in tears when she took the court in Sunday’s Civil War game in Corvallis. When asked about Bryant’s death after the Ducks’ win, Ionescu said “this season’s for him.”
Bryant and his daughter, along with Alyssa Altobelli spent time with the Ducks women’s basketball team earlier this season when they visited Southern California. Oregon Coach Kelly Graves took to his Twitter account to post a photo of Bryant and the two young girls with the women's team from that visit.
Earlier this academic year, Bryant attended a Ducks volleyball game. In 2015, the squad received special edition Nike Kobe 10 "Oregon Ducks" shoes, which were exclusive for the school.
In 2017, Bryant addressed the men’s basketball team in advance of their Final Four appearance. Oregon Men's Basketball posted a video of Bryant surprsing the team in 2017 to their Twitter account on Sunday night. In the video, the players were overcome with emotion as Bryant gave them words of advice.
Copyright KLCC, 2020