The sports world was rocked Sunday morning with reports Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. Since more details have emerged, it’s been learned Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, were among the passengers who didn’t survive.
The cause of the crash is currently under investigation. It’s believed Bryant and his daughter were en route to the Mamba Sports Academy for a game.
“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
“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.”
Bryant’s former teammates, including Shaquille O’Neal and Pau Gasol, along with Michael Jordan and Nike, have been among those to mourn his death on social media.
View this post on Instagram
There are no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing my neice Gigi & my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you 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 !
Beyond devastated… my big brother… I can’t, I just can’t believe it
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) January 26, 2020
Statement from Michael Jordan: pic.twitter.com/oI7w6e7HLI
— Estee Portnoy (@esteep) January 26, 2020
Mamba Forever. pic.twitter.com/wIchSUwFM2
— Nike (@Nike) January 26, 2020
The Lakers learned of Bryant’s death while their team charter was still in flight from Philadelphia. L.A. remained on the East Coast an additional night after suffering a loss to the 76ers at the end of their annual Grammy’s road trip.
Bryant had just been in the news with respect to LeBron James moving into third on the NBA all-time scoring list. Bryant congratulated James on social media, and the current Lakers All-Star showed his adoration for the five-time champion by wearing custom shoes.