As you’d expect, news of Kobe Bryant’s death in a California helicopter crash caused multiple networks to break into live coverage with an announcement or with a special report from a network studio.
Joe Tessitore delivered one of the first on-air confirmations of the news during ESPN’s Pro Bowl coverage.
FOX’s Big Ten basketball broadcast included Tim Brando and Jim Jackson talking about Bryant at the top of the game. Jackson played with Kobe on the Lakers.
On NBA TV, Brian Shaw (another former Kobe teammate) offered his own thoughts.
“For those Kobe fans that are out there, that are feeling like I feel right now, just try and think of all the joy that he brought you.”
Brian Shaw reacts to the reported passing of Kobe Bryant. pic.twitter.com/WjAwmIHQle
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 26, 2020
Jay Williams, on ESPN 2:
Jay Williams speaking about Kobe Bryant pic.twitter.com/wFFBJoiBTy
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) January 26, 2020
ABC broke in with a special report that aired on ESPN as well as both networks carried the Pro Bowl. It also included a weird moment where they seemingly reported that Kobe’s daughters were all on board. We now know that’s not true, although tragically his 13 year-old daughter Gianna Maria was also killed in the accident.
Sources: Kobe Bryant was on his way to a travel basketball game with his daughter Gianna when the helicopter crashed. Those aboard the helicopter also included another player and parent.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 26, 2020
CBS waited until after the conclusion of the Indiana-Maryland basketball game before Adam Zucker broke the news from the studio desk.
Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo opened Sunday coverage at Torrey Pines with some reflection as well.
NBC also interrupted their own figure skating coverage for a special report.
Obviously it’s going to be the dominant story going forward this week as well.