Honoring Kobe Bryant: Sports Stars, Politicians and Celebrities Mourn NBA Great
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by Axios | 1.26.20
Sports stars, politicians and celebrities paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a California helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others on Saturday. He was 41.
What they're saying: Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal said in an Instagram post of his former teammate, "There's no words to express the pain I'm going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed."
- "My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW!" O'Neal added.
- NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement on behalf of the league, "The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter."
"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."
- Former Lakers teammate Derek Fisher tweeted, "Struggling to process what is now a reality. Kobe’s life after basketball was just beginning and his second act was going to be even greater. His legacy, Gigi’s legacy both will live on forever!"
- Former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade posted a tribute to Bryant saying, "Heroes come and go LEGENDS live forever ‼️ #8 #24"
- Lakers Legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson tweeted, "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."
- Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar posted a video tribute on Twitter:
Many political heavyweights also paid tribute to Bryant:
- President Trump said on Twitter, "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."
- Former President Obama tweeted, "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."
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted, "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.
Other public figures also paid tribute, in words and song:
- Singer John Legend tweeted, "I'm so sad and stunned right now. In Staples Arena, where Kobe created so many memories for all of us, preparing to pay tribute to another brilliant man we lost too soon, Nipsey Hussle. Life can be so brutal and senseless sometimes. Hold on to your loved ones. We miss you, Kobe"
- TV host Ellen DeGeneres tweeted, "Like everyone, I’m stunned and saddened by the news about Kobe Bryant. My heart is broken for his wife and family."
- Musician Pharrell Williams tweeted, "The world lost a giant today. Rest In Peace Kobe Bryant. Also praying for the other passengers that we lost and their families."
Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.
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