Tag Archives: Bryant

Widow of Kobe Bryant helicopter crash victim wows ‘America’s Got Talent’ judges

In an emotion-filled ‘America’s Got Talent’ audition, Matt Mauser fought back tears and choked up as he tried to deliver the final line of the song.

WASHINGTON — Matt Mauser, who lost his wife in the same helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant, shared his family’s heartbreaking story and delivered an emotional performance on Tuesday’s episode of “America’s Got Talent.” 

Mauser’s wife, Christina, helped Bryant coach his daughter’s basketball team at his Mamba Sports Academy. She was one of the nine victims in the tragic Jan. 2020 helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and six others. The group was heading to a youth basketball tournament when their helicopter crashed. 

Before starting his audition, Matt Mauser, 51, recounted how he and his wife retired from teaching so he could focus on music full-time and she went on to coach with Kobe Bryant. They lived a “dreamy kind of life,” had three kids and were married for 15 years before that fateful day in 2020.  

“When she left that day, she kissed me and said ‘I love you,’ and that was the last thing my wife ever said to me,” Mauser described. “Your whole life changes in a second, it was pain.”

As his three kids watched from backstage, Mauser then gave an emotional performance of “Against All Odds (Take a Look at me Now)” by Phil Collins. Mauser fought back tears as he made his way through the song, briefly choking up as he tried to deliver the final line, “Take a Look at me Now.”

It was a memorable performance that brought all four judges to their feet. 

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“AGT” judge Howie Mandel praised Mauser’s ability to move total strangers with such an emotional performance.

When asked by Simon Cowell what he would like to happen if he did well on the show, Mauser responded that he’d like to make sure his kids see that in spite of the grief they’ve been through that grief is not going to define who they are as a family.

“That my children see that you have to find joy in life and you have to continue. If this can in any way help my children to chase their dreams, then I’ll take it,” the singer explained.

Mauser told PEOPLE that if he were to win the show’s $ 1 million prize, 100% of the earnings would go to the foundation set up in memory of Christina, which provides scholarships and financial aid to female athletes. 

The “AGT” judges gave Mauser four “yes” votes, so he’ll be moving on to the next round of the competition. 

“When I was out there tonight, I was singing to her and I wanted to make her proud, I think I did that. I felt her in my heart, which was nice,” Mauser described after getting off the stage.  

Author: Andrew Weil
Read more here >>> CBS8 – Entertainment

Vanessa Bryant, other families settle suit over helicopter crash that killed Kobe, others

helicopter crash that killed Kobe

LOS ANGELES — Vanessa Bryant and the other plaintiffs have reached a confidential settlement agreement with the company that operated the helicopter involved in the crash that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant and seven others in 2020.

The parties filed “joint notice of settlement and joint request to vacate discovery deadlines” documents with the court on Tuesday.

“Plaintiffs and Defendants jointly report that they have agreed to settle their claims in the above-entitled action,” the documents state.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The agreement still needs court approval.

Vanessa Bryant had filed a lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters over the Jan. 26, 2020 crash in Calabasas that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant, as well as Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, and Keri Altobelli; Payton Chester and Sarah Chester; Christina Mauser, and helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan.

The pilot’s estate was also named as a defendant in the wrongful-death suit.

The Altobelli, Chester and Mauser families were also involved in legal actions against the company. The documents filed by Vanessa Bryant’s legal team indicate the other families were also part of the settlement.

DEVELOPING: This story will be updated.

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Author: KABC

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Documents: Firefighters could be fired for Bryant crash site photos

The documents were filed as part of widow Vanessa Bryant’s federal lawsuit against Los Angeles County that alleges invasion of privacy.

LOS ANGELES — Two Los Angeles County firefighters could be fired and a third suspended after first responders took and shared graphic photos from the site of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his teenage daughter and seven others, court documents say.
The court documents were filed Monday as part of widow Vanessa Bryant’s federal lawsuit against Los Angeles County that alleges invasion of privacy. The filings propose that a Nov. 16 trial be postponed five months to April 27, 2022, because of a large amount of material that attorneys need to review.
Kobe Bryant and the others were killed Jan. 26, 2020, when the helicopter they were aboard crashed west of Los Angeles. Federal safety officials blamed pilot error for the wreck that killed the basketball star, whom Michael Jordan will present for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
An internal investigation by the Los Angeles County Fire Department found that two firefighters — whose names were not disclosed in the court filings — had taken photos of the bodies in the helicopter wreckage that “served no business necessity,” Vanessa Bryant’s attorneys wrote, and “only served to appeal to baser instincts and desires for what amounted to visual gossip.”
They then sent the photos to a third firefighter — a media relations officer who went to the scene and later shared the images with off-duty firefighters and their wives and girlfriends while socializing at an awards ceremony at a Hilton hotel the month after the crash.
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The two firefighters — one of whom was at the site solely to monitor safety procedures — were sent “intention to discharge” letters last December. The third firefighter received an “intention to suspend” letter. The employment status of all three was not immediately clear Wednesday.
Los Angeles County attorneys have argued that there is no legal basis for Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit because the photos were not publicly disseminated. She can’t sue for a “hypothetical harm” that they may be shared publicly, the county said in filings.
Capt. Ron Haralson, a spokesperson for the county Fire Department, declined to comment, citing the lawsuit.
Several Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies — none of whom were directly involved in the investigation of the crash — are also included in the lawsuit because they are accused of taking or passing around the grisly photos with family, friends and, in one case, a bar patron and a bartender who later complained to the sheriff’s department.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva condemned the deputies’ behavior and, in a move that has since been heavily criticized, ordered them to delete the photos. The captain of the Malibu-Lost Hills sheriff’s station, which oversees the area where the crash occurred, pushed back on the decision but was overruled.
The Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday that “a full administrative investigation was conducted and appropriate administrative action was taken.” But it couldn’t provide details about discipline involving the deputies because of a pending lawsuit and state employment law that bars disclosing “specific administrative actions.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom last year signed a law that makes it a crime for first responders to take unauthorized photos of deceased people at the scene of an accident or crime.
The firefighters’ punishment was first reported by KNBC-TV. Representatives from the union that represents firefighters did not immediately respond to The Associated Press’ request for comment Wednesday.
The firefighter who received the photos and shared them with others was not named in court documents, but the Los Angeles Times has reported that Capt. Tony Imbrenda filed a retaliation lawsuit in November. Imbrenda alleged he was demoted for refusing to hand over his personal cellphone during the investigation into the photos, which he said was a violation of the Firefighter Bill of Rights.
Imbrenda did, however, hand over his department cellphone and laptop, the Times reported. His lawsuit says he received photos from people working at the crash site “as is common practice on all major incidents.”
He took his own photos the next day, the Times reported, but denied taking photos of the victims’ bodies and said he did not take photos with his personal cellphone.
Imbrenda did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports

Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant estate end Nike partnership

Vanessa Bryant said in a statement that her hope “will always be to allow Kobe fans to get and wear his product.”

WASHINGTON — The partnership between Kobe Bryant and Nike has ended, the basketball legend’s wife said in a statement on Tuesday.
Vanessa Bryant said that the contract ended on April 13, 2021. Sources told ESPN that the Bryant estate had grown tired of Nike limiting products during his retirement and after his death.
Basketball star Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in January 2020 during a helicopter crash in Calabasas.
“Kobe and Nike have made some of the most beautiful basketball shoes of all time, worn and adored by fans and athletes in all sports across the globe,” Vanessa Bryant said in a statement on her Instagram story. “It seems fitting that more NBA players wear my husband’s product than any other signature shoe.”
RELATED: Vanessa Bryant posts lawsuit against deputies to Instagram, reveals names
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She said that his products sold out in seconds, which “says everything.” Vanessa Bryant added that her hope “will always be to allow Kobe fans to get and wear his product.”
CBS Sports said the partnership between Kobe Bryant and Nike was first signed in 2003 after his agreement with the clothing and shoe company Adidas ended. He signed a five-year post-retirement endorsement extension in April of 2016.
“I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband’s legacy,” Vanessa Bryant’s statement said. “We will always do everything we can to honor Kobe and Gigi’s legacies. That will never change.”
“Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers,” Nike said in a statement, according to CBS Sports. “He pushed us and made everyone around him better. Though our contractual relationship has ended, he remains a deeply loved member of the Nike family.”
In December of 2019, before his death, ESPN said Kobe was exploring creating his own Mamba brand after his deal with Nike expired.
At this point, it’s unclear what the future holds for Nike Kobe sneakers, one of the longest-running sneaker lines in basketball, according to CBS Sports.

This article originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports