Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest players in NBA history, died in a helicopter crash on Sunday. The basketball legend spent his entire 20-season career with Los Angeles Lakers, leading the franchise to five NBA championships but above all gave countless unforgettable memories to fans and the fraternity.
Only four NBA players who weren’t on the Boston Celtics’ 1960s dynasty teams have won more titles than Bryant. He scored 33,643 career points, third-most in league history, and averaged 25.0 points per game, including a 60-point performance in his final game on April 13, 2016. His 81-point game in on Jan. 22, 2006, against the Toronto Raptors was the second-highest scoring performance in the NBA and arguably the most dazzling single-game offensive performance in hoops history.
He was an 18-time All-Star, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the 2008 NBA MVP.
As the shocking news broke out, sports personalities, celebrities, politicians took to social media or released statements to pay tribute to Bryant.
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Absolutely devastated to hear this news today. So many childhood memories of waking up early and watching this magician doing things on the court that I would be mesmerized by. Life is so unpredictable and fickle. His daughter Gianna passed away too in the crash. Iam absolutely Heartbroken. Rest in peace. Strength and condolences to the family 🙏
Saddened to hear about the tragic demise of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna & others on-board the helicopter. My condolences to his family, friends and fans across the world. #KobeBryant pic.twitter.com/N8B4Tcr4KU
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) January 27, 2020
I woke up this morning with the horrible news of the tragic death of one of the greatest sportsman in the world. Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and other passengers. My condolences to his wife and families. I am in shock.
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) January 27, 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
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.... — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2020
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement today regarding the passing of Kobe Bryant pic.twitter.com/P88GwIwmYV
— NBA (@NBA) 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
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. pic.twitter.com/BHBPN5Wq8V
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020
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
Statement from Michael Jordan: pic.twitter.com/oI7w6e7HLI
— Estee Portnoy (@esteep) January 26, 2020
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 — John Legend (@johnlegend) January 26, 2020
Like everyone, I’m stunned and saddened by the news about Kobe Bryant. My heart is broken for his wife and family.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 26, 2020
Shocked by the death of @KobeBryant, an exemplary athlete both on and off the basketball court. Our most heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones. Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/wGhF4xouVL — FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 26, 2020
rest in peace Kobe 🕊 pic.twitter.com/YtlMAVJHIJ
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) January 26, 2020
RIP Kobe, hero to many including my grandson, extraordinary athlete and always kind to me & my family. My deepest condolences to his family
— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) January 26, 2020
Terribly sad to wake up to this news today. RIP Kobe Bryant. Too young. Deepest condolences to family and friends of the sporting legend. — Rod Laver (@rodlaver) January 26, 2020
Kobe and Gigi💔 This is incredibly difficult to process. I will never forget your generosity, and the time you set aside in some of my most difficult moments. I am forever grateful. My heart is with you and your beautiful family. pic.twitter.com/rnGI8o1p5L
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) January 26, 2020
Your memory lives everywhere, Kobe. pic.twitter.com/Wi1CRE1pqs
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) January 27, 2020
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of @kobebryant, as well as to the entire Lakers family. This is a horrible tragedy. Kobe was one of the best to ever play the game of basketball. May he Rest In Peace. — Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) January 26, 2020
My heart is heavy with the news of Kobe Bryant. Prayers go out to his family right now through this unthinkable time.
— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) January 26, 2020
Beyond devastated... my big brother... I can’t, I just can’t believe it — Pau Gasol (@paugasol) January 26, 2020
Nooooooooooo God please No!
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) January 26, 2020
PSG and Brazilian footballer Neymar paid tribute to Bryant after scoring against Lille in the French league. He held up 'two' and 'four' with his fingers and walked away.
#EssexFame Neymar pays tribute to the late Kobe Bryant after scoring for PSG last night. Courtesy of @btsportfootball #Kobe #VanessaBryant #GRAMMYs pic.twitter.com/k8sTmqUMqK — davidlito (@davidlitoj) January 27, 2020
“Words can't describe the pain I am 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.” — Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan in a statement
Tiger Woods reacts to the news of Kobe Bryant’s death shortly after finishing his round on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/veQV7WYgE8
— GOLFonCBS (@GOLFonCBS) January 26, 2020
“It's an unbelievable reality that he's no longer here.” — golfer Tiger Woods “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.” — Basketball Hall of Famer Larry Bird in a statement
“It's just a huge loss to the game. He was a great example on a lot of different stages.” — rapper Rick Ross at the Grammy Awards
With AP inputs
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Updated Date: Jan 27, 2020 11:56:41 IST