The news of Kobe Bryant’s death stunned the sports world as people remember the basketball superstar who won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant, 41, was killed in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday morning, officials said. His daughter Gianna Bryant, who also played basketball, was among those killed in the crash.
Seven other people died, including a teammate of Bryant’s daughter, a parent of the teammate and the pilot. Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli was also killed, the Orange County Register reported. The crash happened at around 10 a.m. local time about 65 km northwest of central Los Angeles, the city of Calabasas said on Twitter.
Bryant retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history and after scoring 60 points in his final NBA game. He played two decades with the Lakers as a prolific scorer with a sublime all-around game and a relentless competitive ethic.
Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and their three other daughters Natalia, Bianca and Capri, who was born in June, 2019.
Kobe and Gigi courtside breaking down the game 📋 pic.twitter.com/FxqSjVx6ew— ESPN (@espn) December 22, 2019
Fans, friends and other sports personalities from around the world began voicing their grief after news of his death.
There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW pic.twitter.com/pigHywq3c1— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020
RIP KOBE BRYANT 🙏❤️ pic.twitter.com/dPZCNoLnVt— Los Angeles Lakers Fans (@LakersFans_US) January 26, 2020
This is not real right now— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) January 26, 2020
Janet and I have no words to describe our shock and sadness on the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant today. Praying for him and his family. 🙏— Wayne Gretzky (@WayneGretzky) January 26, 2020
The Academy tweeted ahead of the 92nd Oscar nominations in memory of Bryant saying “like all great artists, Kobe Bryant proved the doubters wrong.” Bryant won an Oscar in 2018 for his animated short, Dear Basketball.
They doubted a kid could make it in the NBA and he proved them wrong.— The Academy (@TheAcademy) January 26, 2020
They doubted he could win a championship and he proved them wrong.
They doubted he could make movies and he won an Oscar.
Like all great artists, Kobe Bryant proved the doubters wrong.
Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/1fYnKHbnt7
We miss you already Kobe ❤️❤️🙏🏼🙏🏼— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) January 26, 2020
Jeannine & I are absolutely shocked to hear of the loss of one of my favorite people & one of the best basketball minds in the history of the game! Our hearts & prayers to Vanessa & his girls. @kobebryant you were my biggest fan, but I was yours #RIPMAMBA @NBA @espn @SLAMonline pic.twitter.com/Ll0BD6VWgr— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) January 26, 2020
Wow. Kobe’s supposed to be invincible. RIP🙏🏼— Bo Bichette (@19boknows) January 26, 2020
I’m trying to process but I just can’t man💔 https://t.co/wyMGUclmjj— Jamal Murray (@BeMore27) January 26, 2020
Uhhhh. Noooo...life is too precious. RIP Kobe 🙏🏼— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) January 26, 2020
Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players. But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete. pic.twitter.com/9EZuwk8wrV— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) January 26, 2020
In San Antonio, the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs paid their respects by allowing the 24-second clock to expire on each of their first possessions. The crowd began to chant ‘Kobe’ as both teams allowed the clock to run down. Bryant wore number 24 for most of his career, while he played for the Lakers.
Pausing to remember a great one, gone too soon. pic.twitter.com/YOAIkldiX4— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 26, 2020
Neymar’s tribute to Kobe Bryant #24. Huge respect. pic.twitter.com/hyud3hEQ4K— World Cup (@FlFAWC2018) January 26, 2020
An update on the scene across from Staples Center: "Kobe" chants in front of a fan-created memorial to Kobe and Gigi. pic.twitter.com/qR3cGas3qO— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 26, 2020
Politicians spoke out to remember Bryant. Former Vice-President Joe Biden stopped to speak about Bryant at a campaign stop in Iowa after just hearing about the crash. He had met Bryant a handful of times.
Reports are that basketball great Kobe Bryant and three others have been killed in a helicopter crash in California. That is terrible news!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2020
Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 26, 2020
With reports from Reuters and the Associated Press.