Los Angeles Lakers Stars, NBA Players, And Celebrities Are Mourning Kobe Bryant's Death
Former president Barack Obama, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and current NBA players reacted. "There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through," Shaq said.
NBA legend Kobe Bryant died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, is among eight others who died in the accident.
Bryant, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers his entire professional career and led the team to five national championship games, was considered to be one of the greatest players of the game.
Here's how his former teammates, celebrities, and NBA stars are reacting to the legendary basketball player's death, and how other celebrities are responding.
Shaq played with Bryant from 1996 until 2004. The two had a well-known public feud for most of that time, and despite that, they won three consecutive championships together.
"There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie," he said. "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 !"
"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."
Jordan, the NBA legend who won six championships with the Chicago Bulls, described Bryant as "like a little brother to me."
"He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force," Jordan said in a statement. "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."
Former teammate Lamar Odom wrote in an emotional post that he couldn't believe the news. For all of Odom's personal tragedy, he said that Bryant's death hit him harder than almost anything else he'd experienced.
"Of course anyone who knows my story knows I’ve suffered a lot of loss but the only loss I can compare this to is when I lost my son," he said.
He thanked Bryant for all the lessons on the court and in life over their friendship.
"When I went through that Coma situation if God would have came to me and said we would take me and spare Kobe I would have rather that happened," he said.
Gasol played alongside Bryant with the Lakers from 2008 until 2014.
"Beyond devastated," he said Sunday. The NBA player called Bryant his "big brother," adding, "I just can't believe it."
"Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players," said legendary Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
"But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete."
Former Lakers player Magic Johnson tweeted, "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."
Johnson added that he and his wife Cookie were "heartbroken."
Another former Laker, Karl Malone, who played with Bryant for one season from 2003 to 2004, said, "Kobe and Gianna you will never be forgotten."
"What a blessing to see your impact you have made in this world, Kobe," Malone said before expressing condolences to the Bryant family.
Krzyzewski, the longtime coach of the men's basketball team at Duke University, coached Bryant for the USA in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
"We have tragically lost one of the greatest sports figures of our time with the passing of Kobe Bryant," Krzyzewski said in a statement. "The game of basketball is better today because of Kobe, and he deserves eternal appreciation for that."
Jared Dudley, who signed with the team in 2019, sent prayers to Bryant's family and loved ones.
"This doesn't even feel real man," he said.
Javale McGee, who joined the team in 2018, tweeted, "Rest in peace KOBE!"
Nash, who was part of the same draft class as Bryant in 1996, played against the Lakers legend for years but spent the last few seasons of his career as Bryant's teammate in purple and gold.
NBA rookie Talen Horton-Tucker weighed in on the news, saying, "I've never heard of anything sound so unreal to me before."
"Hurts my heart."
Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb said Bryant was "A great friend, mentor to all, positive role model and teacher of the game."
"Words can't express all my feeling for him as a person, father and player."