Basketball

Reaction to the death of Kobe Bryant pours in from around the world

Reaction from the basketball world and beyond has poured in following the death of retired NBA superstar Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash on Sunday at age 41.

The legendary NBA player was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday

A makeshift memorial for former NBA and Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant is pictured in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 26. NBA legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in suburban Los Angeles. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Reaction from the basketball world and beyond has poured in following the death of retired NBA superstar Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash on Sunday at age 41.

The same crash killed eight other people, including his daughter Gianna.
Canadian rapper Drake posted a photo of a custom-made leather jacket honouring Bryant that he wore to the 2016 NBA All-Star Game in Toronto. That All-Star Game game was the last of Bryant's career before he retired at the end of the season. The caption on Drake's Instagram post read "It can't be." 
Canadian singer Justin Bieber also eulogized Bryant on Instagram, posting a photo of an adolescent Bieber with Bryant standing beside him. 

"It can't be. You always encouraged me mamba. Gave me some of the best quotes that we smile about to this day! Love you man!" said Bieber's caption.

Victoria, B.C. native and two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash played his final two seasons with Bryant and the L.A. Lakers from 2012 to 2014.

"My heart is broken for Kobe and his family. I'll never forget the battles but what I really admired was the father he was to his girls. Rest In Peace old friend with your angel Gianna," Nash 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," tweeted former United States president Barack Obama. 

Shaquille O'Neal won three NBA championships with Bryant while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. "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. I'M SICK RIGHT NOW," O'Neal tweeted.

"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," tweeted hall of famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson, former Lakers star and former president of basketball operations.

"Kobe was not only an icon in the sports arena, he was a man of the world and touched so many lives and communities in the most positive ways. His star was continuing to rise every day and he knew no limits because of his many intellectual and creative talents and desire to give back to others — his passion for the game, for his family and for others was apparent in everything he accomplished,"  said NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird 

"Jeannine & I are absolutely shocked to hear of the loss of one of my favourite people & one of the best basketball minds in the history of the game! Our hearts and prayers to Vanessa & his girls. @kobebryant you were my biggest fan, but I was yours. #RIPMAMBA,"  NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell said via Twitter.
"Just devastated to hear about @KobeBryant. An extraordinary athlete, and a genuinely kind, wonderful man. Sending love, prayers & compassion to his family. To his entire @NBA family as well," tweeted actress Reese Witherspoon. 
"As I tweet through my tears, I am so hurt. I cannot stop crying. Kobe was instrumental to so many people. There is a hole in the basketball world and there will be for a long time. Rest in heavenly peace," said the Rev. Jesse Jackson via Twitter.
"Kobe Bryant Rest in Peace. Unbelievable, unbelievably sad...," tweeted NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas. 
"Kobe Bryant was a giant who inspired, amazed and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court — and awed us with his intellect and humility as a father, husband, creative genius, and ambassador for the game he loved," said Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles mayor, via Twitter 

With files from the Canadian Press

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