Kobe Bryant: All-time friends, celebrities, and fans pay tribute to basketball legend

On Sunday, January 26, the basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

In the helicopter crash, along with Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, died eight other people.

The athlete leaves behind his wife, Vanessa, and his three daughters. His oldest daughter turned 17 a week ago, and his youngest daughter is only 7 months old.

Kobe Bryant was one of the most inspiring and successful NBA players of all time. Although he retired in 2016 after a 20-year-long career with the LA Lakers, he is still one of the greatest players in the game. His career is best acknowledged with Bryant being a five-time NBA champion and named an NBA All-Star 18 times.

Countless tributes poured in after the devastating news for the death of former Los Angeles Laker.

Many expressed their grief and honor for the beloved champion’s sudden death. One of the people who spoke movingly about Kobe Bryant’s legacy, was another NBA legend, Magic Johnson.

“I thought he was going to live forever. I thought he was invincible.”

Furthermore, Magic Johnson posted a heartbreaking photo of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. He is sending his prayers to Vanessa, Kobe’s wife, and their three children Natalia, Bianka, and Capri, as well as his entire family.

View this post on Instagram

As I try to write this post, my mind is racing. I’m in disbelief and have been crying all morning over this devastating news that Kobe and his young daughter, Gigi have passed away in a helicopter crash. Cookie and I are heartbroken. I love him, his family and what he stood for on the court and off the court. My friend, a legend, husband, father, son, brother, Oscar winner and greatest Laker of all-time is gone. It’s hard to accept. Kobe was a leader of our game, a mentor to both male and female players. He gave his knowledge, time, and talent to tutor so many at the youth level, collegiate level, and NBA and WNBA players. Words can’t express the impact that he had on the game of basketball. I know basketball fans all over the world will miss him, especially the City of Los Angeles. He was such an icon but also did so much for LA. He was passionate about serving the homeless and was an advocate for women's basketball. Coaching his daughter’s basketball team brought him so much happiness. Kobe and I shared so many special conversations about life and basketball. We had so much in common off the court. I used to love talking to him about Lakers basketball, being fathers and husbands and how much we loved Italy. I will miss those conversations and him so much. Laker Nation, the game of basketball and our city, will never be the same without Kobe. Cookie and I are praying for Vanessa, his beautiful daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri, as well as his parents Joe and Pam and his sisters. We will always be here for the Bryant family. We love you forever. 🙏🏾❤️ #8 #24

A post shared by Earvin "Magic" Johnson (@magicjohnson) on

Many other basketball champions shared their grief for the death of one of the most extraordinary players of all time. Shaquille O’Neal, who won three NBA titles with Kobe for the LA Lakers, also honored his long-time friend.

The former professional basketball player O’Neal added a touching message:

“Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gigi was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah.”

Additionally, the official Twitter profile of NBA posted a recording if the New Orleans Pelicans and the Boston Celtics, who started their game by each taking 24-second shot-clock violations in honor of Kobe Bryant.

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, also an LA Lakers player from 1975-1989, recorded a moving video expressing his honor for the late basketball star: “He inspired a whole generation of athletes.”

Moreover, six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan released an emotional statement on Sunday, following Bryant’s tragic death. In the statement he says:

“I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing. Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling. I loved Kobe – he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much.”

Former U.S. President Barak Obama, a known basketball fan, called Kobe a “legend on the court”. He and his family are sending their love and prayers to Bryant’s family.

President Donald Trump also paid tribute to the late basketball player. Trump and his wife, Melania, send their warmest condolences to Bryant’s family.

Overall, Kobe Bryant had an uplifting impact on the whole basketball world we know today. People from all around the globe gathered to pay tribute to the champion’s legacy.

What’s more, many were outside Staples center on Sunday, after hearing the heartbreaking news of Bryant’s death. No one can truly believe the legend is gone.

The last thing Bryant tweeted about was the spectacular shot that moved LeBron James into 3rd on the all-time scoring list. The late basketball legend shared his respect for King James.

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