CHICAGO (CBS) — The death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter has sent shockwaves across the nation, after they were killed along with seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles.
Bryant, 41, was named as a nominee for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last month. He is ranked 3rd all-time in points in NBA history. He won five NBA titles in his 20 seasons with the Lakers.READ MORE: Jussie Smollett Trial: Lead Detective In Investigation Explains On Witness Stand How Smollett Went From Victim To Suspect
Michael Jordan released a statement honoring Bryant Sunday afternoon. It read:
“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. He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply – and took great pride in his daughter’s love for the game of basketball. Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organization and basketball fans around the world.”
Meanwhile, Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson released a statement on behalf of the Bulls:
“The Chicago Bulls organization is terribly saddened about the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the other passengers in today’s horrific helicopter crash in California. While he leaves us far too soon, his legacy and persona will forever be remembered. One of the best to have ever played the game of basketball, we extend our deepest sympathies to the Bryant family and the other families affected.”
Former teammate Pau Gasol, who helped Kobe lead the Lakers to back-to-back NBA titles in 2009 and 2010 and went on to play for the Bulls from 2014 to 2016, wrote on Twitter that he was “beyond devastated.”
“My big brother… I can’t, I just can’t believe it,” he wrote.
Beyond devastated… my big brother… I can’t, I just can’t believe it
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) January 26, 2020
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Former Bulls guard and Chicago native Dwyane Wade issued a tweet reading: “Nooooooooooo God please No!”
Nooooooooooo God please No!
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) January 26, 2020
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I'm completely in shock & disbelief to hear of the passing of @kobebryant my heart hurts for his wife & 3 young daughters. Like many others around the world that this amazing human being touched not just as a player but as a person I just don't want this to be true. #ripkobe
— Stacey King (@Stacey21King) January 26, 2020
Though he didn’t name Bryant in his tweet, Chicago Bulls Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen wrote on Twitter that he was “stunned” shortly after news of the fatal helicopter crash broke on TMZ.
I’m stunned. Words can’t even come close to describing it. Just an incredibly sad and tragic day.
— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) January 26, 2020
Absolutely crushed about Kobe Bryant. 🙏🏼🙏🏼
— Bill Wennington (@34billy42) January 26, 2020
Bulls guard Zach LaVine wrote that he was “shook” by news of Bryant’s death.
“More then just basketball man he has 4 daughters… life is crazy. Thoughts and prayers to his family,” he wrote on Twitter.
I’m shook….. idk what to think right now
— Zach LaVine (@ZachLaVine) January 26, 2020
More then just basketball man he has 4 daughters… life is crazy. Thoughts and prayers to his family.
— Zach LaVine (@ZachLaVine) January 26, 2020
Ron Harper played on three of the six Chicago Bulls championship teams in the 1990s and then played alongside Bryant on the Lakers. He simply wrote, “R.I.P my brother…….” with icons showing hands clasped in prayer, hearts, and goats – for “greatest of all time.” It included a link to a photo of the pair on the court together.
R.I.P my brother…….🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️🐐🐐🐐🐐🐐 https://t.co/aBsNKucWFd
— Ron Harper (@HARPER04_5) January 26, 2020
Chicago’s Chance the Rapper posted an image on Instagram showing Bryant and his daughter shown from the back with halos above their heads.
Former President and longtime Chicagoan Barack Obama issued a tweet of condolence Sunday night. It said in part that Bryant was “just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act.”
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
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also issued a tweet honoring Bryant, whom she called “one of the NBA’s greatest legends who inspired fans with his drive and passion.”
Saddened by the death of @kobebryant, one of the NBA’s greatest legends who inspired fans with his drive and passion. Our thoughts go out to his family during this painful time, as well as the families of all those who were lost in this terrible tragedy.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) January 26, 2020
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Also Sunday night, the United Center became one of many memorials to Bryant, as dozens of Chicagoans came to pay respects.