|Kobe Bryant talking to BrooklynFans.com and the rest of the media before his first game in Brooklyn against the Nets on February 5, 2013. Photo by Jason Schott.|
One of the NBA's greatest players, Kobe Bryant, and his daughter, Gianna, passed away in a helicopter crash on Sunday afternoon in Calabasas, California.
Bryant was in the news on Saturday night, as LeBron James passed him for third place on the all-time NBA scoring list. James passed Bryant's 33,643 points, so Bryant referenced the number that put him over the top in the last tweet Bryant sent out on Saturday night: "Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644"
Tributes were pouring in to the Lakers legend immediately as the news came out and people came to grips with this tragedy, in which he leaves behind his wife, Vanessa, and three children. Nine people died in the crash, and not all names have been revealed as of Sunday night.
Phil Jackson, former Lakers coach who won five championships with Bryant, to Bleacher Report's Howard Beck (@HowardBeck): "The crash was a tragedy for multiple families. My heart goes out to Vanessa and the families that lost loved ones. Kobe was a chosen one - special in many ways to many people. Our relationship as coach/player transcended the norm. He went beyond the veil."
Shaquille O'Neal, NBA legend, teamed with Bryant to win three championships with the Lakers (2000, 2001, 2002) on Twitter (@SHAQ): "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 i will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW.
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."
Reggie Miller, NBA legend and TNT announcer, on Twitter (@ReggieMillerTNT): "This is piercing my soul, prayers to the Bryant family... Hard to even comprehend.."
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement: "The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.
For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals. But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.
We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world."
President Donald J. Trump on Twitter (@realdonaldtrump): "Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the truly great basketball players of all time, was just getting started in life. He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating. Melania and I send our warmest condolences to Vanessa and the wonderful Bryant family. May God be with you all!"
Former President Barack Obama on Twitter (@BarackObama): "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."
Joe Biden, Vice President under Obama and current Democratic Presidential candidate, on Twitter (@JoeBiden): "Jill and I are sending our prayers to the Bryant family and to everyone who lost loved ones in today's crash. It's a reminder of how special - and fragile - that life is. And it's a reminder that we've got to make every day count."
Former President Bill Clinton and Former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady Hillary Clinton in a statement released by the Clinton Foundation: "Hillary and I are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and all those who died in today's helicopter crash. Kobe brought excitement and joy to basketball fans not just in Los Angeles, but all over the U.S. and around the world. He was also a leader off the court, including in his advocacy for young people, especially the vulnerable and homeless - a passion I saw firsthand when I joined him and Vanessa for the opening of a housing project they and their foundation supported. Kobe Bryant lived a very large life in a very short time. But above all, he loved his family. Our prayers are with Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri, and all those who lost loved ones today."
California Governor Gavin Newsom, on Twitter (@GavinNewsom): "Today, the world lost a legend.
Kobe Bryant's 20 year career with the @Lakers raised the bar for every player. He willed his team to triumphs. Competed with unparalleled ferocity. Defied the odds. Simply put -- he was an icon.
Our hearts go out to his family and fans."
Tiger Woods, golfer and friend of Kobe, speaking after he played in the Farmers Insurance Open: "One of the most shocking, tragic days that I've ever been a part of.
"We really connected on more the mental side of it...how much it takes to be prepared. For me, I don't have to react like he does in my sport, we can take our time. But you've still got to pay attention to the details and that's what he did better than probably any other player in NBA history.
"That's where he and I really connected because we're very similar. He came in the league and I turned pro right around the same time and we had our 20-year run together. It's shocking."
Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban statement: We are shocked and saddened by the devastating news of the passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. Kobe was an ambassador of our game, a decorated legend and a global icon. Above all, he was a loving and dedicated father.
Kobe's legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick.
Our hearts go out to all the lives lost and the families impacted by this terrible tragedy. We send our thoughts and prayers to Vanessa and the family, the Lakers organization and Kobe Bryant fans everywhere.
Alicia Keys in her speech opening the Grammys at Staples Center, the Lakers' home: "We're literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built."
Jimmy Kimmel, host of ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," of which Bryant was a frequent guest, on Twitter (@jimmykimmel): "He was great, charismatic & among the hardest-working athletes ever, but what impressed me most was how deeply-involved Kobe was with his 4 daughters. Pray for them, Vanessa, his parents & his fellow passengers' families on this sad and shocking day. We will never forget you Kobe."
Ellen DeGeneres, host of the talk show "Ellen" on Twitter (@TheEllenShow): "Like everyone, I'm stunned and saddened by the news about Kobe Bryant. My heart is broken for his wife and family."
Detroit Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem (was Kobe's agent at the start of his career) in a statement: "Kobe Bryant was far away the greatest athlete I had the privilege of representing during my 35 years as a player agent. And I represented many great athletes. I've known Kobe since he was a 17-year-old senior at Lower Merion High on Philadelphia's Main Line. He had a fearsome intellectual curiosity and his enthusiasm was contagious. The glint in his eyes wasn't just joy: It was sparks from a fire that couldn't be tamped down. To him, anything less than the best was failure. He deeply loved his wife Vanessa and the family they created, Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, and Capri. He cherished his daughters and they were always his top priority. Losing Gianna makes this even more tragic. Kobe's death is especially wrenching knowing what he was capable of, and what he might have accomplished in his post NBA life. He was already well on his way, continuing to have such an impactful life. My deepest condolences to Vanessa, her daughters, his parents, Pam and Joe Bryant and to the entire Bryant family."
Donnie Wahlberg, star of "Blue Bloods" and member of New Kids on the Block, on Twitter (@DonnieWahlberg): "I can always find words. Today, I'm having a hard time.
#Kobe #RIPKobe #RIPMamba #KobeBryant"
Representative Adam Schiff, Democrat from California, 28th Congressional District (Los Angeles County), on Twitter (@RepAdamSchiff): "I join the rest of Los Angeles in mourning the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and others.
One of the greatest basketball players of all time, Kobe had a grace and athleticism unmatched in the NBA.
My prayers are with his family and friends, and all Laker fans."
Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, candidate for president, on Twitter (@amyklobuchar): "This is such a tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with the Bryant family and the families of everyone on board. Hug your loved ones close today."
Pete Buttigieg, Democratic presidential candidate, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, on Twitter (@PeteButtigieg): "There are people we will never meet who affect our lives in immeasurable ways.
For millions, Kobe Bryant was one of those people. He changed the game and his legacy will inspire generations of athletes...
Kobe's magnificence on the basketball court brought him fame and titles, but his greatest pride was being a father. The loss of his daughter Gianna is unthinkable. My deepest sympathies are with the Bryant family, the families of those lost, and everyone impacted by this tragedy."
Michael Young, former baseball player for the Texas Rangers on Twitter (@MikeyY626): "As a born and bred LA kid, this is pure devastation. Kobe was LA sports. The grit, the spirit, the fight. Competitively, he was everything we wanted to be. Just thinking of my hometown right now. This cuts deep...
I guess the only way to put into words Kobe's impact on LA is you want the person to rep you, rep your city. Stand for the way you live, stand for the heartbeat of your city. Own mistakes, learn from them...like all of us. I like being a fan. It brings people together...I love having the sports chat w other guys from other towns. 'We have Brady!' Or, 'We have Jeter!' Cool, cool. LA fans say, 'We have Kobe.' Chat over. He was ours. May God bless all the souls onboard and give peace to the lives of their families."
Brandon McCarthy, former baseball pitcher with teams including the Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Chicago White Sox, owner of Phoenix Rising FC, on Twitter (@BMcCarthy32): "The loss of Kobe hurts the world of sports on so many levels - but I can't help but feel it was women's sports where he was going to leave his longest-lasting impact. He was so passionate about his daughters and his belief that 'if you can play, you can play.'"
Dan Rather, journalist, former anchor of CBS News, on Twitter @DanRather): "Reading the Kobe tributes, and about his daughter, knowing other families have had their lives torn apart by this tragedy, yields to a deep sadness. Life is so precious, and fragile."
Jeffrey Gundlach, Double Line CEO, based in Los Angeles, on Twitter (@TruthGundlach): "I think a great many people will remember where they were the moment they heard Kobe Bryant had died. I know I will. Greatness."